MARINGOUIN - A scathing audit released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor found major problems within the Maringouin Police Department.
Former Chief John Simien is accused of violating the law, according to the audit. It found Simien billed taxpayers for hotel stays after his conferences were over, received nearly $31,000 in extra pay he was ineligible for, and that nearly half the traffic tickets issued over the past two years were reduced to non-moving violations.
The audit was submitted to the District Attorney's Office to review. The WBRZ Investigative Unit has learned a meeting is scheduled between the DA's Office and the Legislative Auditor. At that time a decision will be made whether to pursue criminal charges against Simien, which could include theft and malfeasance in office.
"This is a crazy town," Kayla Hatch said. "I hope it get ran better since we have a new mayor and new chief. I hope it's better."
New Mayor Demi Vorise declined to do an on-camera interview. Instead, she released the following statement.
"The paramount concern of the governing authority for the Town of Maringouin is the best interest of the residents of the great Town of Maringouin and to ensure that all local officials are adhering to all state laws and regulations. The findings of the Louisiana Legislative Auditors were under the previous Administration of the Honorable John Overton, Sr. Under the previous administration, there at times was a lack of checks and balances. However, I am not asserting blame on any particular person or group. Nevertheless, the recommended findings have been reviewed and are currently being implemented. I believe in the governing board of Alderman and the Chief of Police. I am confident that this Administration will continue to work to make the Town of Maringouin one of the greatest places to reside."