Legislative Auditor finds possible wrongdoing by Port Allen Mayor
BATON ROUGE - This morning, the State Legislative Auditor released a scathing audit detailing possible wrongdoing by Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter. She has been the subject of numerous News 2 investigations since February.
The auditor graded it a "D" because it involves fraud and abuse. The audit focuses on a number of issues that were the topic of News 2 reports since February. The report indicates that the Legislative Auditor believes the Mayor likely owes the City of Port Allen some money, and she may have violated state laws.
The findings are detailed in a 33 page report. Three key issues are detailed: the Mayor raising her salary $20,000 without council approval, receiving an improper car allowance not budgeted by the City Council and taking a taxpayer funded trip to Washington D.C.
News 2 uncovered the Mayor billed taxpayers $2,400 for her trip to the nation's capital. It happened after submitting public records requests surrounding financial documents involving the Mayor. Shortly after News 2 received those documents, Slaughter fired her Chief Financial Officer, Audrey McCain. A Judge reinstated her a short while later and ordered the Mayor not to meddle in her work.
On four different occasions, February 13, February 18, February 20 and February 21, the Mayor indicated she met with Senator Mary Landrieu to talk "business." News 2 interviewed Senator Landrieu who made one thing very clear, there was no meeting with Slaughter.
"I have no specific knowledge of any specific thing we talked about," Senator Landrieu said on March 25, 2013. "You're going to have to talk to whoever is involved in that, all we did is have a party."
The Legislative Auditor suggests the City seek legal advice on whether $2,400 the Mayor billed taxpayers should be recovered. Despite what Landrieu said, the report indicates the Mayor still maintains she met with the Senator.
"Mayor Slaughter maintained and continues to maintain that she is duly entitled to the reimbursement of her travel expenses due to the public nature of her travel needs," Slaughter wrote in response to the auditor's report.
The report also focuses on her salary, another hot button issue we've tried to question her about many times.
"I'm only doing my job," she responded on June 7, 2013 when asked why she raised her salary to $85,000 without council approval.
The audit suggests that the city council may not have properly set the Mayor's salary. However, the audit suggests the Mayor can't make more money than what is budgeted in the accounts, unless there's a budget amendment. In the Mayor's response to the audit, she states that if the council declines to fix the compensation of the Mayor, she'll take the issue to court.
Copies of the audit were turned over to the State Attorney General, Governor and other public officials. A copy of the report was also given to District Attorney Ricky Ward. We're closely following these latest developments and will have the latest here on WBRZ.com and on the air at noon, 4, 5 and 6.
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