Suit says sheriff’s deputy revealed auction bid

A St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy acting as auctioneer at a judicial sale in 2013 showed a couple’s bid on a piece of property to another man and ultimately awarded the property to the man, a suit filed in the 16th Judicial District Court claims.
When asked for comment, St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Traci Landry said the sheriff does not comment on pending litigation
On May 8, 2013, Wade Guillotte and Angela Guillotte entered the St. Mary Parish Courthouse to bid on a piece of property valued at $2,300 that was being sold at a judicial sale in connection with a partition action, which had been filed earlier by the couple, according to the suit filed July 14.
As Wade Guillotte and Angela Guillotte waited on the first floor for the bidding to begin, Frank Smith Jr. entered the building and began chatting with the sheriff’s deputy auctioneer, Catherine Washington, the suit stated.
Washington then went with the Guillottes to another room to count the cash they brought with them, according to the suit. The couple told Washington that they had brought $6,000 in cash to bid on the judicial sale, but they also had access to cash elsewhere in the event it was needed, the suit stated.
After Washington counted their money, she wrote the amount in the top left corner of the folder of the paperwork for the property that she was carrying, according to the suit. Washington then went back to the first floor and met with Smith, the suit states.
Washington is accused of revealing the amount of cash, Wade Guillotte and Angela Guillotte had bid to Smith, the suit states.
Smith complained to the Guillottes about the amount they intended to bid on the property stating that the property was not worth $6,000, according to the suit. Once the bidding process began, Smith quickly bid up to $6,000, and Washington told the Guillottes that they could bid no higher, and the property was sold to Smith for $6,000, the suit states.
The suit claims that Washington’s conduct was contrary to appropriate bidding procedures. The suit also states that the incident was filmed by the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Department and/or Homeland Security.
Wade Guillotte requested a copy of the video for the sheriff’s sale within 30 days following the sale and was told that the video of the sale at issue was erased even though videos are required to be maintained by the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Department for 90 days, according to the suit.
The suit states that the Guillottes believe that Smith and Washington are related to each other and claim that Washington abused her authority as auctioneer by informing Smith of the amount the couple bid.
The suit is requesting for the sale of the property to be declared null and void and that the property be put up for sale again. The suit was filed against St. Mary Parish Sheriff Mark Hebert and Frank Smith Jr.

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com

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