Ortego, former executive director of the Ville Platte Housing Authority, filed suit against an accounting firm, amongst others, for defamation of character. Ortego filed suit after the housing authority board approved a motion to file its own suit and pursue theft charges against Ortego. During Ortego’s administration, the housing authority board created Alternative Living Solutions, a non-profit organization. The board members at that time then agreed to provide start-up funds for this organization, which was the act that led the newer housing authority board members to declare it was an act of fraud.
According to court documents, a transcript of the meeting stated the accountant, Steve Moosa, agreed the act amounted to fraud. After board members suggested the act amounted to fraud, Moosa stated, “Basically, that’s what we’re showing.”
This led to the allegation against Ortego and the suit he filed in response.
In an opinion by Judge John D. Saunders of the Third Circuit Court of Appeal, the judgement was reversed because Ortego failed to provide proof that Moosa’s statements were made with “actual malice” or a reckless disregard for the truth.