State News

Audit: Failed sugar mill cost La. taxpayers $71M

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Posted: Jul 14, 2014 10:13 AM by Melinda Deslatte
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: sugar syrup mill, audit, Lacassine, cane farmers, taxpayers

BATON ROUGE - A new audit says the state lost $71 million in taxpayer money on a failed sugar syrup mill in southwest Louisiana.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office looked at the building, leasing and selling of the Lacassine mill.

In a report issued Monday, auditors say Louisiana spent $76.7 million on the mill and recouped $5.7 million through its sale in October.

The facility in Jefferson Davis Parish, completed in 2006, was pushed by former Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom as a way to help Louisiana's sugar industry, but it was a failure from the start.

Built for a group of cane farmers, the mill overshot its budget, never yielded the profit Odom projected and was idle for several years before it was sold for scrap.

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