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Investigative Unit: Town running a kangaroo court, detectives suspect

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CLINTON – Subpoenas were filed in a state and parish investigation involving allegations of widespread wrongdoing in the town of Clinton.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit learned Wednesday, the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office and the State Police are looking into the conduct of the Clinton Mayor’s Court and the questionable purchase of four Chevy Tahoes for more than $200,000.

“I think there’s a lot of questions residents in the town have about the operation of their government,” said Chief Deputy Greg Phares with the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators are looking into the fines people are given who appear before mayor’s court – a city court in usually small towns that handles tickets ranging from traffic offenses to code violations and is presided over by an appointed magistrate instead of judges.

Investigators, WBRZ learned, are looking into allegations fines are excessive, collected incorrectly or possibly illegally.

In addition, investigators are probing the purchase of the new SUVs. A multi-year lease-purchase agreement shows the town agreed to a 60-month, $203,475.12 installment plan for the four vehicles.

“That’s one of the central issues is the financial health of the town and whether they can continue to service the citizens with how the finances appear to be,” said Phares.

The situation and controversy is no secret to many in Clinton.

A town council meeting in early August was abruptly called to an end after a ruckus over the town budget. The meeting was called to, as the agenda item said, “Discuss the Tahoes.”

The subpoenas are filed for what investigators said are cases involving possible malfeasance in office.

There is a town council meeting to discuss the budget next week.

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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