Arrested city contractor speaks only to KSLA

By Liz Elan - bio | email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -  "It's the case of the missing insulation," said James Lester as he was carted out in handcuffs Last Monday outside the Caddo parish white collar crime unit.  One week later, the arrested city contractor stands by his words.

"I have nothing to hide. It's a conclusion looking for a crime that a contractor forgot to put insulation in an attic," said Lester at his home Friday.

Lester says the $900 he charged the city for insulation in one home is all The Caddo Sheriff's Office has on him, he says there is nothing scandalous about it.

the insulation is hidden. It's in the attic. It is not hard to overlook in the run of a busy day."

At last weeks news conference, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator also pointed out that Lester did not install a new furnace. Lester says it was a misunderstanding. He says the furnace was new, just never hooked up.

"My air conditioning subcontractor said 'look at this brand new furnace that has never been hooked up,' so we decided it would be beneficial to take those funds we would have used on a new furnace and repair the living room floor and the windows," Lester said.

Lester says the insulation and the furnace were just a small part of the nearly $26,000 of repairs for the one house.

"The Sheriff looked at 200 of my projects and they found one oversight."

But the sheriff's office said Tuesday the home in question was the third house of Lester's it went to investigate. Still Lester believes the whole investigation is an attack on his family."It's been a smear campaign," Lester said.

Sheriff Prator did say the investigation started because they were curious about another one of the contractors arrested, Alfonso Williams, but Lester says through that, the sheriff's office was trying to incriminate his cousin, city councilman Calvin Lester.

"They were not trying to find what they found on Alfonzo. They were trying to find a relationship between Calvin and Alfonso and when they didn't find it, they found me," said Lester.

Lester admits some of his work did not check out, but he says the foul play is not on him or The Department of Community Development. "When all the dust clears and we see that there is no there, there, I think we need to investigate the sheriff's department," he said.