I-Team: Parish workers selling scrap metal, is it legal? - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

I-Team: Parish workers selling scrap metal, is it legal?

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POINTE COUPEE PARISH, LA (WAFB) -

The 9News I-Team report heads to Pointe Coupee Parish. They're looking into reports of parish workers selling scrap metal and using the cash to throw themselves Christmas and retirement parties. Some workers told WAFB it has been happening for more than 20 years, but is it legal?

Metal culverts are replaced around Pointe Coupee Parish year round. The old ones are removed and taken to the parish maintenance facility. It is a process that has been going on for years.

Recently, Parish Police Juror Albert "Dewey" Dukes asked the Jury President Melanie Bueche to investigate scrap metal being sold at the maintenance facility, allegedly by parish employees. In an inter-office memo to Bueche dated January 20, 2012, Dukes writes "it has been brought to my attention that the Christmas party held at the Civic Center was funded by the sale of scrap materials."

Dukes tells 9News he believes parish workers paid for much of the party after taking the materials to the Louisiana Scrap Metal Recycling Yard in Port Allen. Bueche responded five days later to Dukes; "the matter has been referred to the District Attorney's Office for further investigation."

Assistant District Attorney John Wayne Jewell confirms his office has been looking into the allegations for two weeks. He says, so far, he has obtained receipts from Louisiana Scrap Metal totaling more than $11,000 for just last year; all paid to Pointe Coupee Maintenance and Utility. The documents show the payments were made in cash.

Louisiana Scrap Metal General Manager Chip Dejean tells the 9News I-Team cash is only given to individuals who bring scrap to his yard. Dejean says the law requires that he writes checks to people who bring materials in for a company.

Assistant District Attorney Jewell says he has hired investigators to start tracking the individuals who delivered the culverts to the scrap yard and what they did with the cash they got.

The Legislative Auditors Office tells 9News when it is time to get rid of items owned by a parish, they're supposed to be sold at public auction. The District Attorney's Office says they plan to send their findings to the Legislative Auditor.

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