Thursday, June 26, 2014

Former Lafayette Regional Airport (KLFT) director said to have wielded fake gun in argument with engineer

Former Lafayette Regional Airport Director Greg Roberts allegedly pulled out a fake handgun and pointed it at an engineer during a June 11 meeting at airport offices, an incident that precipitated his resignation a few days later.

Lafayette Airport Commission Chairman Matt Cruse announced Roberts’ resignation on June 16 but offered no specifics other than to say it involved “a momentary lack of judgment,” and Roberts did not respond to inquiries.

The details of the incident were made public Thursday in a Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office report released by 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson, who has not decided whether to prosecute the case.

According to the report, Roberts was meeting with staff and private engineers about a new Bell Helicopter facility at the airport when a question arose over who would pay for an environmental assessment needed for the project — Bell or the Airport Commission.

The report states that “Greg Roberts became agitated, turned around at his desk, and when Greg turned back around, he pointed a gun at George.”

“George” is identified in the report as George Glaubrecht, the president and CEO of Lafayette civil engineering firm Domingue, Szabo & Associates.

The gun was fake and designed for use as a Transportation Security Administration training aid, according to the report.

Glaubrecht wrote in an email cited in the report that “he did not know if the gun was real or loaded” but it looked like a real gun and “at the time he did not know it was a joke.”

Glaubrecht wrote that someone at the meeting told him after the fact that he threw his hands over his face when the gun was pulled, and he recalled Roberts saying something to the effect of “notice my finger was not on the trigger,” according to the report.

The Sheriff’s Office report indicates some apparent disagreement about the impact of Robert’s alleged actions.

Cruse told the investigating deputy that fellow commissioner Paul Segura had heard everyone at the meeting believed the gun was real and “that Greg Roberts was going to shoot George,” according to the report.
But the report also references a written account of the incident from airport Project Manager Daniel Elsea stating Roberts did not appear angry and “no person showed any signs of being disturbed, shaken or impacted by Greg’s actions.”

Elsea wrote that he had seen the fake gun before, used by Roberts as a paperweight and an “art piece.”

Harson said he received the Sheriff’s Office report this week and has not decided whether to pursue charges in the case.

“I’m sure we’ll contact the victim … and consider any legal issues before we decide our course of action,” Harson said in an email Thursday.

A message left at a telephone number listed for Glaubrecht was not returned Thursday evening.

Cruse could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Airport Commission Vice-Chairman Paul Guilbeau declined comment and referred all questions to Cruse.

Earlier this month, Cruse said at the news conference announcing Roberts’ resignation that he placed the longtime airport director on leave June 13 as soon as he learned of the incident.

Roberts submitted his resignation two days later.

“Greg from the very beginning has been cooperative, sincere and apologetic,” Cruse said at the time.

Cruse has said the commission is preparing for a nationwide search to find his replacement.

Airport Deputy Director Mike Burrows has been appointed interim airport director.


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