Steve Theriot

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Steven J. Theriot
Louisiana State Representative from District 84 (Jefferson Parish)
In office
1988–1996
Preceded by Chris Ullo
Succeeded by N. J. Damico
Louisiana Legislative Auditor
In office
May 20, 2004 – November 20, 2009
Preceded by Dan Kyle
Succeeded by Daryl Purpera (acting)
Jefferson Parish School Board
In office
1983–1987
Personal details
Born 1946
New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Gwendolyn E. Dunn Theriot
Children Three children
Residence Marrero
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
Alma mater Delgado Community College

Loyola University New Orleans

Occupation Certified Public Accountant

Steven J. Theriot, known as Steve Theriot (born 1946), is a Certified Public Accountant from Marrero in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, USA, who served as his state’s legislative auditor from 2004–2009 and as a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1988-1996.[1]

State legislator[edit]

Theriot (pronounced TERRY OH) was first elected to the District 84 House seat from Jefferson Parish in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 24, 1987, when, with 5,577 (56.3 percent), he defeated two other Democrats.[2] He was unopposed in 1991 and did not seek a third term in 1995, when the seat went to another Democrat, N.J. Damico.[3]

As a House member, Theriot served as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and the Fiscal Affairs and Governmental Operations Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference.[4]

In 1993, Theriot, along with fellow lawmakers Kernan "Skip" Hand, Ken Hollis, and Jim Donelon, all of the New Orleans suburbs, admitted to having given Tulane University scholarships to their children. Legislators are allowed under an 1884 law to designate one Tulane scholarship recipient per year, but the extent of the practice of giving such awards, totaling $17,000 in 1993 dollars, to family members had been previously unknown.[5]

In 1995, rather than seeking a third term in the legislature, Theriot ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer. With 372,500 (29 percent), he finished second in the primary to fellow Democrat Ken Duncan, who polled 448,182 (34.9 percent). Mary Chehardy, a Republican candidate from Jefferson Parish, finished in third place with 335,463 (26.1 percent). A second Republican, Gayle Joseph, trailed with 128,272 (10 percent).[6] In the second balloting, Duncan defeated Theriot, 798,280 (56.6 percent) to 610,964 (43.4 percent). The incumbent treasurer, Mary Landrieu of New Orleans, ran unsuccessfully for governor a year before she would win election to the United States Senate.[7]

Legislative auditor[edit]

Theriot was named the fourth legislative auditor on April 20, 2004, and assumed his duties a month later. He succeeded the Republican Dan Kyle, who had turned the office into a government watchdog from which an investigation was launched into the activities of the late Elections Commissioner Jerry M. Fowler, who was defeated in the 1999 primary and later imprisoned for accepting kickbacks. Kyle left the post in 2003 to run for insurance commissioner[8]

Theriot supervised a staff of accountants and investigators who review the books of more than 3,500 state and local government units and affiliated entities. The auditor is elected by a majority of the 144 members of both houses of the legislature from a slate of candidates submitted by a commission.[9]

As auditor, Theriot clashed in 2009 with Jim Donelon, who became state insurance commissioner in 2006. The quarrel referred to access by Theriot’s office to e-mails and other department records. Ultimately, Theriot found misspending in the Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, which led to the indictment of its former president, Terry Lisotta.[9] Ultimately, Theriot had to obtain a court order to inspect the records, which Donelon originally said were off limits.[10]

Another Theriot audit began with an inquiry into a toy charity operated by the police department in Mandeville in St. Tammany Parish. The investigation found numerous financial improprieties in Mandeville City Hall and contributed to the political demise of Mayor Eddie Price.[9]

Theriot himself came under criticism when it was revealed but not included on his resume that after having become auditor he was a vice president for public finance of the firm Coastal Securities.[11] The company, which handles bond issues for Louisiana public institutions, is subject to the legislative auditor's oversight. Louisiana state government watchdog C.B. Forgotston of Hammond called in 2006 for Theriot's resignation over the conflict of interest.[11]

Theriot received an associate's degree in electrical engineering from Delgado Community College in New Orleans. He also procured a Bachelor of Commercial Science degree from Roman Catholic-affiliated Loyola University of New Orleans. Since college, he has operated his own accounting firm in Gretna, the seat of Jefferson Parish. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants, and the Institute of Management Accountants. He served on the Jefferson Parish Home Mortgage Authority from 1979–1982 and on the Jefferson Parish School Board from 1983-1987. He was a member of the board of West Jefferson Medical Center from 1997–2002 and chairman of the medical center from 2002-2004. He is married to the former Gwendolyn E. Dunn; the couple has three children.[4]

Theriot's last day in the office was November 20, 2009. His successor as Legislative Auditor is his former first assistant, Daryl Purpera. House Speaker Jim Tucker credited Theriot with improvements in the auditor's office and the effective monitoring of the distribution of hurricane recovery dollars after the twin storms of 2005.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2008". house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Louisiana election returns, October 24, 1987". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved November 21, 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Louisiana election returns, November 18, 1995". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved November 21, 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Louisiana Legislative Auditor Steve J. Theriot". lla.state.la.us. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  5. ^ Dyer, Scott (17 June 1993). "Scholarship Controversy Grows". The Advocate (Baton Rouge). p. 1-A. 
  6. ^ "Louisiana election returns, October 21, 1995". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved November 21, 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Louisiana election returns, November 18, 1995". sos.louisiana.gov. Retrieved November 21, 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Michelle Millhollon, "Legislative Auditor Announces Retirement", November 3, 2009". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Jan Moller, "Legislative auditor Steve Theriot to retire; assistant to handle duties temporarily", November 3, 2009". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Ron Thibodeaux, "Auditor's staff begins scrutiny of Insurance Department records", August 17, 2009". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b ""Theriot needs to resign! Time for conflict resolution", November 20, 2006". lapoliticalnews.blogspot.com. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
Preceded by
Chris Ullo
Louisiana State Representative from District 84 (Jefferson Parish)

Steven J. Theriot
1988–1996

Succeeded by
N. J. Damico
Preceded by
Dan Kyle
Louisiana Legislative Auditor

Steven J. Theriot
2004–2009

Succeeded by
Daryl Purpera (acting)