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Complaint: city leaders used power for personal gain

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Posted: Feb 18, 2014 9:34 PM by Ryan Naquin
Updated: Feb 19, 2014 7:21 AM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 5.0 (1 vote)

Topics: Complaint, misusing power, accusations, city funds, SORRENTO, council members, personal gain, Ethics Commission, Patti Poche, Marvin Martin, Ryan Naquin

SORRENTO - Two council members are accused of using their positions for personal gain.

The Louisiana Ethics Commission is investigating Sorrento councilwoman Patti Poche for work done at her home. Also, a former town police officer accused Councilman Marvin Martin of having the city pay for plumbing work done on his property.

Sorrento records show Poche put in a work order to use city labor, material and equipment to put gravel the end of her driveway.

She shied away from questions about the investigation at a town council meeting Tuesday night. At one point, the councilwoman barricaded herself behind a door to escape questions.

"I'm not at liberty to talk about it," Poche said when asked several times about the issue.

But while Poche refused to talk, her husband shared his side of things.

"It needed to be fixed," Tad Poche said.

His wife told him investigators with the ethics commission showed up at his house Monday, he said. When asked if he thought the work should have been billed to taxpayers, he said no.

"No, not on the city's dime," he said.

But then he said the work was done on city servitude. Poche nor the city could tell how much the work cost.

Before the state got involved, the city's police department did its own investigation. Former police officer Kathy Gil said the work went well onto Poche's land.

About Martin's alleged misuse of power, Gil claimed the city paid a plumbing company $155 for work done on his land.

"It was cleaned up from the town line to the main sewer line which is not on town property," she told the entire council.

Martin argued that was wrong. He said, "no, it was adjoining property from my property." While he denies the accusation but admits the work did benefit his property.

"Yes it did. If that's the answer you want, yea," he said.

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