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POINTE COUPEE PARISH, LA (WAFB) -
It could be weeks, even months, before Pointe Coupee police jurors learn where the money the parish made from scrap metal went. The jury president has pulled the item from next week's meeting agenda and that has made some jurors angry.
Police Jury President Melanie Bueche explains it all in his memo. Jurors were expecting to get an update at their regular meeting Tuesday, but Thursday afternoon she sent a memo informing members of the police jury saying "at this time, it has been determined that it is not permissible to discuss this matter at a meeting of the jury." The memo was sent after Bueche met with her parish administrator, his assistant, and Assistant District Attorney John Wayne Jewell.
Bueche asked Jewell to investigate the matter after a police juror told her he was concerned that parish workers were selling old culverts and meters and using that money to throw parties. Former State Legislature Auditor Dan Kyle says because none of the transactions were recorded on the parish accounting books, investigators have a lot of digging to do.
"They can establish the amount of scrap that would have been. Of course, the company they sold it to probably has a record and they can go back through the records and establish how much was sold to employees at the police jury," said Kyle.
So far, the District Attorney's Office confirms it has obtained receipts from last year totaling more than $11,000 in scrap. The paperwork shows Louisiana Scrap Metal in Port Allen paid that amount in cash to Pointe Coupee Maintenance and Utility.
Once the District Attorney's Office finishes its investigation, their findings will be sent to the current legislative auditor.
A law was passed last legislative session to prevent things like this. The law was made effective August 15, 2011. All scrap yards in the state must pay by check or by money order. We have learned the one involved in the Pointe Coupee investigation pays cash. We're told it's up to the Sheriff to enforce that law.