By Aubrey Killon | WDSU | September 1, 2022
NEW ORLEANS — New documents raise questions over consulting work done for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Kyshun Webster, the former Juvenile Justice Center director for the city of New Orleans, did a few weeks of consulting work for Orleans Parish Sheriff Susan Hutson back in May and June.
Documents show Webster was paid $175 an hour.
Webster billed the sheriff’s office for over $30,000 worth of work in five weeks, according to the documents.
The Orleans Parish sheriff issued the following statement on Webster’s work with the department:
“Dr. Webster is a valued partner in the fight for criminal justice reform. He provided his expertise during my transition and I am very thankful for his help during that time. On May 4, 2022, Dr. Webster became a hired consultant who was embedded within OPSO offices as the transitional “Acting Chief of Staff”. Dr. Webster’s term with OPSO lasted approximately one month (through June 7, 2022) and we thank him for helping organize our team early on. After an extensive process, I am preparing to announce my permanent Chief of Staff in the coming days.”
Webster resigned from the Juvenile Justice Center after New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced a shakeup following an incident where four kids were able to escape after accessing a swipe card from an employee earlier this year.
Webster was criticized for how often he was showing up to work at the time of the incident.
Documents show a letter from Cantrell’s Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano addressed to Webster informing him he would be terminated.
The letter, dated in January, appeared to be a draft, and it is unclear if Webster ever received it before resigning.
Bishop Tom Watson, a spokesperson for Webster, held a news conference Thursday addressing recent criticism of Webster’s consulting business.
Webster was not in attendance for the news conference.
The spokesperson described the criticism against Webster as “lynching.”
Rafael Goyeneche, the head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, said Webster took a leave of absence before he resigned from the Juvenile Justice Center.
Webster collected his salary while on leave.
Goyeneche questions why Hutson would employ Webster considering the concerns the city of New Orleans expressed before his resignation.
“She initially referred to him as a volunteer and volunteers don’t get paid the amount of money she paid him,” Goyeneche said. “My concern was if she did a background check on him. Had she checked with the city of New Orleans or the inspector general they would have shared some of the concerns. I don’t know if she did that.”
WDSU reached out to Hutson for an on-camera interview multiple times, but she was not available.