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CLINTON, LA (WAFB) -
An East Feliciana Parish
town is in turmoil after two women are arrested and charged with
racketeering. It involves non-profit "Friends of Clinton Main Street"
With a population of less
than 1,700, Clinton, LA is the type of town where people know what is going on
with their neighbors; so when 66-year-old Carol Shirley and 62-year-old Alice
Kent were arrested, most people were shocked. Alice Kent is an officer at Landmark Bank and the treasurer of Friends of Main Street program. Carol Shirley is the Executive Director of the Friends of Main Street program.
The Clinton Main Street
project is a non-profit organization designed to enhance the town. Now it is
the focus of a Federal and State probe.
Legislative auditors say
that $65,000 didn't go to promote the culture, recreation and tourism in
Clinton, instead it went to pay for personal things for the two women.
"The money would come into
the town. Once the town got the money, the town would cut the check to what it
thought was Clinton Main Street program. There was an account in that name in Landmark
Bank, which is next door. Our investigation showed over the course of the five
year period that was looked at, that for that entire period of time, the
accounts only carried a balance of $3.57," said Staff Sgt. James Cook with the
Clinton Police Department.
Staff Sergeant Cook says
Kent and Shirley
used the money for personal things like rent, utilities and travel.
The yearlong investigation
into the missing money lead to the arrest on Friday. The town's mayor says he
is saddened by the news and that both women are personal friends of him and his
"We had to do something
even though they're friends of ours. They've been friends for a long, long
time. It's very hard to do," said Clinton Mayor Don Reason.
Shirley and Kent are
charged with one count each of racketeering, malfeasance and theft, six counts
each of Public Contract Fraud, 15 counts each of Filing or Maintaining False
Public Records, and 196 counts each of money laundering.
A number of local
businesses had donated money to the Clinton Main Street program, including the
Exxon Retiree Program, Landmark Bank, and Feliciana Bank.