ABC board member accused of bribery, extortion
BATON ROUGE- State Alcohol Tobacco Control agents arrested an East Baton Rouge Alcohol Beverage Control board member on extortion and public bribery charges.
Ralpheal Steven Johnson faces felony charges. Johnson is an appointed member of the board that oversees alcohol permits in the city-parish.
According to investigators, Johnson threatened to oppose a permit "and then accepted a monetary bribe not to oppose" it.
Johnson is also the Vice President and Executive Director of the Melrose East Community Association (MECA).
According to a news release from the State ATC office "Johnson, as a board member and MECA Vice President, opposed the issuance of a license, but made an agreement to drop all opposition if a lump sum contribution of $1500.00 and monthly payments of $150 were made to MECA."
State investigators were notified about the situation by ABC Director Chris Cranford.
Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Control Commissioner Troy Hebert's office told News2 there are video recordings of Johnson accepting the $1500 bribe.
"This type of activity undermines the entire permitting process" Hebert said.
News2's Ashley Rodrigue has more on the arrest and exclusive video of the arrest coming up on News2 Louisiana at 6 and 10.
IMAGE: East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office