Louisiana state librarian files lawsuit against Lt. Gov.

December 30, 2022 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A state librarian filed a civil lawsuit against Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, alleging that the politician removed her from her office after she reported him to the FBI for “questionable contracts.”

Rebecca Hamilton, who served in the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which is overseen by the lieutenant governor, filed a civil lawsuit against Nungesser in East Baton Rouge Parish last week. The longtime librarian seeks an injunction and restraining order barring Nungesser from disciplining or firing her, The Advocate reported.

The lawsuit alleges that “at various times,” Hamilton “reported questionable contracts and other matters by Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, the state Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

It was not immediately clear Thursday what the “questionable contracts” that were referenced in the lawsuit are. However, Nungesser told The Advocate and The Times-Picayune last year that his office was being probed by the FBI, apparently over grants made by his office. The status of that probe was not immediately clear.


Hamilton’s lawsuit alleges that Nungesser was “aware of these reporting activities by (Hamilton) and in retaliation de facto removed her from office, and his agents are now attempting to manipulate and intimidate board members to prevent her reappointment to the office.”

The lawsuit said Nungesser had Hamilton “physically and unceremoniously marched out of her office.” Following her removal, Hamilton says she was not allowed back into her office and denied access to her files, phone lines and computer systems.

The Associated Press reached out to Hamilton’s attorney, Gregory Miller of the New Orleans firm of Miller, Hampton and Hilgendorf, but he didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Betsy Otken Barnes, a spokeswoman for Nungesser, said the lieutenant governor hasn’t “seen the lawsuit, is in California preparing for the Rose Parade, and will respond when he returns to Louisiana next week.”

Nungesser, a Republican who has served as lieutenant governor since 2015, is considering a bid for governor in 2023. He is expected to announce his decision in early January.