Archive for the ‘Jonesboro’ Category

North Hodge Audit Has Several Significant Findings


The Village of North Hodge’s latest audit for the fiscal year ended 9/30/2014 has several significant findings.

2014-4. Supporting Documentation Not Available.
Village employees were unable to find all supporting documentation for fines and forfeitures revenue and for water and sewer billings.

2014-7 Questionable Purchases.
From April 17, 2013, to September 4, 2014, Village of North Hodge officials and employees purchased equipment, supplies, and other items totaling $9,207 not necessary for Village operations.

2014-8 Village Employees Paid Excess Wages.
From October 19, 2012, to August 22, 2014, former excess wages paid through unauthorized
pay increases totaling $6,722. In addition, former Village Clerk Patricia Tapp may have violated state law by holding incompatible offices (Village clerk and police officer).

2014-9 Questionable Travel Expenses.
From January 2014 to July 2014, Village police department employees incurred travel expenses totaling $998 for which there appears to be no public purpose.

See here the complete report.

In last fall’s elections, Kathy Robinson defeated Geraldine Causey, who had been mayor since 2003.

It is notable that North Hodge received over half of the village’s FY 2014 total revenues (about $206 thousand) from fines and forfeitures (about $118 thousand).

Area School Residency Requirements Not Equally Enforced


While Jackson Parish Schools students must go to school in the district where their parents or guardians reside, it appears that at least one West Monroe HS student’s high profile parents don’t have to follow the law.

See here U. S. District Judge Robert James’ order that directs Jackson Parish students to attend schools in their attendance zones.

Order of Modification

From the document:

Address Verification

a. All students. In addition to completing the Residency Form, students seeking to enroll or to continue enrollment in the District schools for school year 2015-2016, or for the first time at any time thereafter, must provide at least two (2) of the items listed below as verification of the student’s address. The submitted documents must show the location by street address of the residence of the parent, legal guardian, foster care parent, or non-parents (as applicable) where the child maintains his or her primary residence.
• Current valid driver’s license or state ID showing a residential street address (not a post office box)
• Current property tax records
• Current mortgage documents or property deed
• In cases of apartment or home lease, a notarized statement from the property owner/lessor identifying himself/herself as the property owner/lessor, describing the property, and the term of the lease, identifying the lease-holder
• Current rent payment receipt or copy of money order made for payment of rent showing residence address
• Current valid automobile registration showing residence address
• Current telephone or utility bill showing residence address
• Current voter identification card showing residence address
• Notarized affidavit verifying residence (street) address

However, Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Attorney John Belton claims a Lincoln Parish address as his primary residence, but his son John Randall attends West Monroe HS. Both Belton and his wife Alana are registered Lincoln Parish voters.

See here from the LA Secretary of State website:

John F. K. Belton
Alana Gilbert Belton

Belton’s latest financial disclosure statement lists his address as 138 Griffin Road, Ruston. The Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor website confirms property at that location belonging to John and Alana Belton, and that is homestead exempt. See here the documents:

Financial Disclosure (2015)
Lincoln Parish Tax Records (2015)

According to Louisiana’s Election Law, LA RS RS 18:101:

B. For purposes of the laws governing voter registration and voting, “resident” means a citizen who resides in this state and in the parish, municipality, if any, and precinct in which he offers to register and vote, with an intention to reside there indefinitely. If a citizen resides at more than one place in the state with an intention to reside there indefinitely, he may register and vote only at one of the places at which he resides. If a person claims a homestead exemption, pursuant to Article VII, Section 20 of the Constitution of Louisiana, on one of the residences, he shall register and vote in the precinct in which that residence is located, except that a person who resides in a nursing home as defined in R.S. 40:2009.2 or in a veterans’ home operated by the state or federal government may register and vote at the address where the nursing home or veterans’ home is located. For purposes of voter registration and voting, the residence of a married woman shall be determined in the same manner as is required for any other citizen. A citizen of this state shall not be or remain registered or vote in more than one place of residence at any one time.

Lincoln Parish School’s Student Assignment Policy says this:


The School Board shall require verification of residence of those students whose residence is suspected to be outside the attendance zone of the school the student is attending. When investigating the residence of a student, the School Board shall attempt to verify the primary place of residence of the legal parent or legal guardian. Such verification of residence shall be based on such items as the following:

1. Voter registration card of parent or guardian, or
2. Property tax statement of parent or guardian showing homestead exemption, or
3. Certified copy of any judicially ordered tutorship, custody or guardianship of any minor child student not domiciled or in the custody of their natural and/or legal parents. Verification of the physical residency of the legal custodian, tutor/tutrix or non-parent shall also be required, or
4. Any other documentation as may be stipulated by the Board.

Apparently Belton uses a West Monroe address for purposes of school attendance. See here the document:

115 Creole Lane, West Monroe, LA 71291

Ouachita Parish Schools Student Assignment Policy says this:

Each student shall have only one residence (domicile) which is determined to be the place where he/she predominantly sleeps, takes meals, and maintains personal belongings. To establish domicile in the Ouachita Parish School District, a parent or legal custodian must present sufficient information which supports both that the parent, legal custodian, or caregiver is actually domiciled within the Ouachita Parish School Board jurisdictional school boundaries, and confirm that the child under his or her care, custody and/or control is actually domiciled with that parent or legal custodian.

See here the document.

Lafayette’s “Secret Cajun Man” Gets Six Years in Jail


Recall the scandal at the Lafayette District Attorney’s office three years ago that cost incumbent DA Mike Harson his job last year?

Robert Williamson, the Lafayette private investigator who billed himself as “Secret Cajun Man” was sentenced to 78 months in prison for his role in a pay-for-plea scheme involving mostly DWI citations.

Private Investigator Williamson Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison on Charges in Bribery Case

LAFAYETTE, LA—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that private investigator Robert Williamson was sentenced to 78 months in prison on charges related to his role in a pay-for-plea scheme that garnered favorable treatment for defendants charged with OWI and various state crimes. Williamson, 67, of Lafayette, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote on one count of conspiracy, one count of bribery and one count of Social Security fraud. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $77,677.20 in restitution. According to the June 8, 2015 guilty plea, Williamson, who is not licensed to practice law, was part of a conspiracy from March 2008 to February 2012 that solicited thousands of dollars from individuals with pending criminal charges in the 15th Judicial District. Williamson promised favorable resolutions to pending felony and misdemeanor cases, the majority of which were OWI cases.

Williamson paid bribes in cash and other things of value to personnel within the District Attorney’s Office for the 15th Judicial District and employees with other organizations associated with the OWI program, including Acadiana Outreach. Williamson also obtained false and fraudulent certifications from Acadiana Outreach, which certified that his clients completed court-ordered community service, when in fact the individuals had not. Williamson would obtain fraudulent driver safety training certificates showing that Williamson’s “clients” completed court-mandated driver improvement programs when they had not. Some of those monies were for fines, penalties and other expenses. During the course of the scheme, Williamson also received approximately $77,677.20 from the Social Security Administration that he was not entitled to receive.

“The public good was circumvented by the greed and lies perpetrated by Williamson and his associates,” Finley stated. “People who should have been dissuaded from drunk driving by receiving jail time and other penalties were instead given a pass to endanger lives again and again. The damage that this conspiracy has wrought cannot be quantified. We hope that this sentence brings an end to this type of practice and serves as a warning to anyone who would try to conduct a similar scam and circumvent the legal process.”

Co-defendants Barna D. Haynes, 61; Greg Williams, 47; and Sandra Degeyter, 64, all of Lafayette, were sentenced July 10, 2015 by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. Co-defendants Denease Curry, 49, of Broussard, and Elaine Crump, 62, of Lafayette, were also sentenced by Foote July 10, 2015 on one count of misprision of a felony for failure to report bribes offered and received by employees of the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Haynes received one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. Williams, Degeyter, Curry and Crump received two years of probation. Additionally, Williams and Degeyter were sentenced to six months of home confinement. Hanyes, Williams and Curry are former employees of the District Attorney’s Office. Degeyter and Crump are former employees of Acadiana Outreach.

The FBI and the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Luke Walker and Robert C. Abendroth prosecuted the case.

Auditor: Doubt that Eros can Continue “as a going concern”


Things haven’t improved for the Town of Eros since last year’s audit. Repeat findings include late payments for taxes and deficit spending.

Condition: As of the year ended December 31, 2014, the Town’s governmental activities current liabilities exceeded its current assets by $14,621, and the Town of Eros showed a decrease in unrestricted net position of $4,139. These factors, as well as the uncertain conditions that the Town faces regarding revenue sources, create uncertainty about the Town’s ability to continue as a going concern.


Condition: During the compilation of the Town of Eros, payroll taxes collected by the Town due to federal and state governmental agencies were not remitted to the agencies in a timely manner. The Town Clerk and the Mayor are responsible for accounting for and remitting the payments and forms to the correct agency on behalf of the employees of the Town of Eros in a timely manner.

See here the complete report.

Local Candidtate Roundup


Here’s how the Saturday, October 24 ballot stacks up for area parishes.

Lincoln Parish:

Sheriff: Mike Stone (unopposed)

Clerk of Court: Linda Cook (incumbent), Ashley Page

Tax Assessor: Sheila Bordelon, Edwin Edgerton

Lincoln Parish Police Jury:

District 1: Charles Owens IV, Theresa Wyatt (incumbent)
District 2: Larry Gipson, Hazel Hunter (incumbent)
District 6: Chris Garriga, Roy Glover, Walter Pullen (incumbent)
District 7: Tim Babcock, Jody Backus (incumbent)
District 8: Rodney Bagwell, Skip Russell (incumbent)
District 12: Claire Givens, Annette Straughter

Jackson Parish:

Sheriff: Andy Brown (unopposed)

Clerk of Court: Laura Culpepper, Christy Walker

Tax Assessor: Ray Duck, Brenda Jefferson, Glen Kirkland, Lance Seymore, Joshua Smith, Bo Teat

Jackson Parish Police Jury:

District 1: Todd Culpepper (incumbent), Tom Goss
District 3: Allen Lindsay, Amy Magee (incumbent), Stanley McKaskle, Lavelle Smith
District 4: Billy Bryant (incumbent), Windy Calahan, Steve Kelley, Johnny McCarty
District 6: Rod Potts, Jr, Regina Rowe
District 7: Christina Hodnett, James LeBrun, Rodney Potts, Renee Stringer, Lynn Treadway (incumbent)

Ouachita Parish:

Sheriff: Jay Russell (incumbent), Clint Thomas

Clerk of Court: Louise Bond (incumbent), Madeleine Slaughter

Tax Assessor: Stephanie Smith (unopposed)

Ouachita Parish Police Jury:

District B: Mack Calhoun (incumbent), Jack Clampit
District C: Walt Caldwell (incumbent), Brad Hough

As we had reported yesterday, a dozen police jurors were unopposed for re-election.

Several Area Police Jurors Get Free Pass for Four More Years


Several incumbent area police jurors were today elected without opposition to another four year term, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury

District Three: Bobby Bennett
District Four: Randy Roberson
District Five: David Hammons
District Nine: Joe Henderson
District Ten: Nancy Wilson
District Eleven: Sharyon Mayfield

Jackson Parish Police Jury

District Two: Eddie Langston
District Five: Maxie Monroe

Ouachita Parish Police Jury

District A: Scotty Robinson
District D: Ollibeth Reddix
District E: Shane Smiley
District F: Pat Moore

We will have more reporting later on who else was unopposed, and what the tickets will look like in other local races.

Candidates Flock to Area Courthouses


Local politicians began their quest for offices today by invading area clerk’s offices to file their candidacies. Here’s what we have so far.

Lincoln Parish

Sheriff: Mike Stone (Incumbent)
Clerk of Court: Linda Cook (Incumbent)
Tax Assessor: Sheila Bordelon (Incumbent), Edwin Edgerton
Police Jury:

District Two: Larry Gipson, Hazel Hunter (Incumbent)
District Three: Bobby Bennett (Incumbent)
District Five: David Hammons
District Six: Roy Glover
District Seven: Tim Babcock, Jody Backus (Incumbent)
District Eight: Skip Russell (Incumbent)
District Nine: Joe Henderson (Incumbent)
District Ten: Nancy Wilson (Incumbent)
District Twelve: Claire Givens, Annette Straughter

Jackson Parish

Sheriff: Andy Brown (Incumbent)
Clerk of Court: Laura Culpepper
Tax Assessor: Brenda Jefferson, Glen Kirland, Joshua Smith, Bo Teat
Police Jury:

District One: Todd Culpepper (Incumbent), Tom Goss
District Two: Eddie Langston (Incumbent)
District Three: Amy Magee (Incumbent), Lavelle Smith
District Four: Windy Calahan, Johnny McCarty
District Six: Rod Potts
District Seven: James LeBrun, Lynn Treadway (Incumbent)

Town of Jonesboro, Alderman District A: Janet Martin, Johnny Runyon

Ouachita Parish

Sheriff: Jay Russell (Incumbent), Clint Thomas
Clerk of Court: Louise Bond (Incumbent), Madeleine Slaughter
Tax Assessor: Stephanie Smith (Incumbent)
Police Jury:

District A: Scotty Robinson (Incumbent)
District B: Mack Calhoun (Incumbent), Jack Clampit
District C: Walt Caldwell (Incumbent)
District D: Ollibeth Reddix (Incumbent)
District F: Pat Moore (Incumbent)

Bobby Loyce Culpepper: July 26, 1941 – August 15, 2015


He is survived by his wife of fifty-one years, Elizabeth Estelle Walker Culpepper, of Jonesboro, LA; one daughter, Teresa Loyce Carroll and husband Clay of Jonesboro, LA; one son, William Todd Culpepper and wife Laura of Quitman, LA.

Five grandchildren, Sallie Otwell Fenn and husband Anthony of Quitman, LA; Syble Otwell Deal and husband Brian of Quitman, LA; Elizabeth Louise Carroll Joynor and husband Brandon of Jonesboro, LA; Jeffrey Clay Carroll, Jr of Jonesboro, LA; Brandon Loyce Carroll of Jonesboro, LA.

Four great-grandchildren, Camden and Cali Deal; Addison and Allie Fenn.

Three sisters, Lynnette Sandidge of Jonesboro, LA; Nelda Jane Oliver and husband Paxton of West Monroe, LA; Margaret Brumfield and husband Pat of Jonesboro, LA.

Three brothers, Howard Culpepper and wife Patricia of Huntsville, AL; Everrett Culpepper and wife Bonnie of Myrtle Creek, OR; Mike Culpepper of West Monroe, LA.

Mr. Culpepper is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews. Mr. Culpepper was preceded in death by his parents, Edwin and Myrtle Culpepper and his son, Nathan Bradley Culpepper.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 4-8pm, Edmonds Funeral Home Chapel

Wednesday, August 19, 2015, 2pm, First Baptist Church

Transport Cemetery, Jonesboro, LA

Jackson Parish Juniors, Seniors to be Bussed Next School Year


Some Juniors and Seniors attending Jackson Parish Schools will be bussed to Jonesboro-Hodge High School (J-HHS) for several hours of classes beginning next academic year, Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) has learned.

J-HHS will become a “college prep school” under the plan, Superintendent Wayne Alford told LPNO this afternoon. College-bound Juniors and Seniors at the parish’s other two high schools, Quitman and Weston, will be bussed to J-HHS where the courses will be taught.

Advanced math, chemistry, and algebra are among the courses to be taught at J-HHS.

There will be a public meeting next Tuesday, July 7, 6:00 PM at J-HHS to reveal more details of the plan, Alford said.

Earlier today, at a teacher’s meeting, other parts of plan were revealed, sources told LPNO.

All parish students will be re-enrolled to insure that they attend the schools in their attendance zones, the sources said.

Also, LPNO has obtained a copy of the minutes of a status conference meeting held in the office of Western District of Louisiana Judge Robert James last Tuesday.

From the document:

A status conference was conducted by the undersigned in Chambers on June 30, 2015, at 1:20 p.m. Participating were Torey Cummings, counsel for United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”); Robert Hammonds, counsel for Jackson Parish School Board (“School Board”); Wayne Alford, Superintendent of Jackson Parish schools; and Kayla Dye May, Law Clerk.

Counsel and the Superintendent discussed changes to the programming offered at the high schools in the District as a means of achieving desegregation and offered the Court a number of suggestions. The District intends to move forward with programming during this school year.

Additionally, counsel intend to present the Court with joint proposed orders regarding the registration of students and the procedural for selection of administrators. They will also confer on possible actions with regard to the elementary and middle schools.

The conference concluded at 2:30 p.m.


See here the document.

Added 7/3/15 – 9:15 AM

We just received this clarification from Superintendent Wayne Alford:

Only juniors will be required to attend JHHS for the first three academic periods of the day. Seniors needing the Core four or Tops classes being taught at JHHS may attend if they choose.

Nash Given Diversion Program in Jackson Parish Hospital Case


Wayne Nash, the former pharmacist at the Jackson Parish Hospital, has completed a “pre-trial diversion program” of community service, instead of prosecution, Assistant Attorney General Frank Brindisi told Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) this morning.

Last March, Nash was arrested for distribution of a legend drug.

Pretrial diversion is an alternative to prosecution for qualifying non-violent offenders. Offenders that enter the program are supervised while they complete the conditions of their agreement. When the terms and conditions are completed, the case is dismissed.

Brindisi had no information on the other defendants in the case, as their cases were being handled by another division within the AG’s office. Brindisi handled Nash’s case after the the Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson Parishes) District Attorney’s Office recused itself.

Nash’s attorney was former 2nd JDDA Walter May.


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