CLINTON, LA (WAFB) - Clinton Mayor Lori Bell was arrested Thursday, November 15 on multiple charges.
The probable cause report says in October, a search warrant was issued to obtain records and copies of checks from an account at Landmark Bank, entitled Clinton Police Department Narcotics Fund. Records show that between February 4, 2014 and November 23, 2016, three checks were issued from that account to pay for a tent and banner. All three checks were signed by Chief Fredrick Dunn, but were written by someone else.
Two of the checks (dated May 29, 2014 and June 27, 2014) were for $950 each. The third check (dated March 3, 2016) was for $127.02. Investigators discovered the banner and tent that were purchased had Mayor Bell’s name embossed on them. The banner also said "Proud Supporter & Sponsor of GC Summer Camp."
LRS 43.111.1 says in part: “No public funds shall be used in whole or in part for the payment of the cost of any advertisement containing therein the name of any public official whether elected or appointed...”
On October 31, officers met with Dunn and his attorney, Jim Holt. Dunn was questioned about why the tent was paid for out of the Narcotics Fund bank account. Dunn says he asked Bell if he could buy the tent to be used for events on narcotics awareness and education. According to Dunn, Bell gave him permission to buy the tent, but said she wanted her name on it. Dunn claimed to have no knowledge of the banner until he was told it was ready to be picked up and that he needed to sign a check for it. Dunn goes on to claim he did not write the checks, but was told by Mayor Bell to sign them.
The report states a total of $2,027.02 was misappropriated by Mayor Bell.
Bell is charged with malfeasance in office and felony theft.
Bell and Dunn were both arrest in October for other malfeasance in office accusations.