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