Village of North Hodge officials and employees, including former Mayor Geraldine Causey and former Assistant Police Chief Greg Coleman, spent more than $9,000 on equipment, supplies, and other items not necessary for Village operations, according to an audit report issued Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office.
On August 12, 2014, Mr. Coleman was arrested by Jackson Parish Sheriff’s deputies and charged with malfeasance in office. Later that month, Village Clerk Patricia Tapp, who also served as a Village police officer, resigned from both of her positions. As a result, Ms. Causey contacted the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and requested an audit of the Village, the report said.
According to the audit, “Mr. Coleman used Village funds totaling $2,595 to purchase 8,000 rounds of ammunition that do not match the caliber of any weapon owned by the police department. Chief Moffett stated that he did not authorize the purchase,” and added that, “the ammunition matches the caliber for personal weapons owned by Mr. Coleman.” Chief Moffett also stated that Mr. Coleman used Village funds to purchase a truck and a lawnmower for his own use.
The audit also found that “Village police department employees incurred travel expenses of $998 for which there appears to be no public purpose.” On July 16, 2014, the Village’s debit card was used in Bossier City to withdraw $200 from a Village bank account. The supporting paperwork included an invoice from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), which showed that
Mr. Coleman and Ms. Tapp were registered for a conference at the Downtown Shreveport Hotel in Shreveport for July 17-18, 2014, at a cost of $200. Village payroll records show that Mr. Coleman and Ms. Tapp claimed to have attended “Class” for nine hours per day on July 16-17th, 2014.
In the report, NADDI representatives said the invoice used to support the withdrawal was not theirs. They also noted that the conference was in held in New Orleans, not Shreveport. They further indicated that although Mr. Coleman and Ms. Tapp registered for the conference, NADDI did not receive the registration fee, and the officers did not attend the conference. Total Rewards gaming card records obtained from Harrah’s Entertainment indicate that Mr. Coleman used his rewards card at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City on July 16, 2014. “It appears that either Mr. Coleman or Ms. Tapp submitted false documentation to support the $200 cash withdrawal,” the report said.
The audit also revealed that Ms. Tapp seems to have paid herself excess wages totaling $5,577 through unauthorized pay increases for her positions as the Village clerk and as a police officer. Former (and current assistant) Village Clerk Joanie Cannady also received excess wages totaling $1,145.
A number of other violations were stated in the report, including additional unauthorized withdrawals from Village bank accounts and unauthorized purchases of groceries and firearms.
A copy of this report has been sent to the District Attorney for the 2nd Judicial District of Louisiana.
See here the complete report.