Sterlington alderman requesting the district attorney to prosecute previous town officials for financial misconduct

Sterlington Town Hall
Sterlington Town Hall(KNOE)
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 11:30 PM CDT
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STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE) - One Sterlington alderman is asking for the district attorney to prosecute previous town leaders for possible financial wrongdoing.

A KNOE investigation in May of last year uncovered the town was in over $20 million in debt. In addition, we found that town leaders had spent nearly $6,000 from the town’s account on personal meals

KNOE found that the $20 million dollars were split between the sports complex and the fight for a water system.

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor released its investigative audit in November of last year. Some of the key findings include:

° The town municipal advisor providing incorrect financial information to the State Bond Commission in order to obtain bonds

° The town improperly using bond proceeds under Breland’s direction.

° Lease purchase agreements not being publicly bid

The audit investigated the actions of former mayor Vern Breland as well as the former municipal advisor Aaron Fletcher.

A fiscal administrator was appointed in the fall of last year to help the town get out of debt. Since then, Alderman Matt Talbert said they’ve made headway but his constituents still have some concerns.

“Who is responsible for the debt, and is anything going to be done about the people who are responsible?”

Talbert said these were their questions that he brought to the district attorney, Steve Tew.

“I had reached out to find the answers that people were asking for,” Talbert said.

KNOE reached out to Tew’s office to confirm. They agreed that they had spoken to Talbert regarding his concerns but could not comment on any other information regarding the Legislative Auditor’s investigation.

“He told me that the investigation was ongoing and he would be prosecuting anything that he found, any problems that he found and that included the former mayor,” Talbert said.

KNOE reached out to Mayor Caesar Velasquez to see if he would comment on the matter, he has not responded at the time of this writing.

Copyright 2020 KNOE. All rights reserved.

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