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Southern Band Director accused of asking for kickbacks had prior arrest for felony theft

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BATON ROUGE- Southern Band Director Nathan Haymer is defending himself tonight, over a prior arrest he faced on a felony theft charge at a high school he worked for in Lake Charles as a band director.

Haymer reported over $2,000 was missing from the band department at Washington Marion High School. Auditors were called in and police reports indicate that number was more like $40,000. Investigators arrested Haymer and charged him with felony theft. Arrest documents show he was accused of taking $5,000. However, his brother, Niles Haymer said this was a bad investigation. He says his brother's case was never pursued, and there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

Information of Haymer's prior arrest comes the same week that a media company accused him of sending a text message asking for a kickback to have Southern University's world-famous band perform at an event.

Today, Haymer opened up outside the band offices on Southern University's Campus.

"Auditors to this day have yet to show me where they got that number from," Haymer said. "All I know is I was collecting money for jackets and went to Subway less than a mile away and money was missing from my desk."

Haymer was among three others arrested after the money went missing.

"It is a witchhunt," Haymer said. "Am I perfect, no. I have a past. But, I'm not that type of person. I have blemishes in my past. It's still on the internet."

Haymer said he was never terminated from the high school and was hired by Southern University right after.

Today, the District Attorney's Office in Calcasieu Parish said they couldn't independently verify that the charges were not pursued because they only keep paperwork on felonies for ten years.

However, Nathan Haymer's brother, Niles Haymer provided us with a document that showed his brother's case was closed. Charges were not pursued due to insufficient evidence. He believes the allegations coming to light now are nothing more than a smear against his brother.

"The Southern University Band Director has done an excellent job," Haymer said. "With success comes these problems. you will always have people saying you are too successful and we will bring you down."

On Monday, the WBRZ Investigative Unit showed you Haymer was the subject of a lawsuit accused of asking for a ten percent kickback to have Southern's band play at an event.

The owner of Octagon Media alleged in her lawsuit Haymer sent her the following text message, "the ten percent needs to be made payable to me so that the staff can be properly compensated. I am asking for you to hide this ten percent in your percentage charge. If this cannot be done, please let me know."

Despite that text message, Haymer said he would never do that.

"I'm an honest person," Haymer said. "I have integrity. Southern pays me well enough and there's no need for me to get kickbacks from a fundraiser."

The contract for Octagon Media totaled almost $50,000. The media company says it had to pay refunds to the organizations that used them to schedule the marching band to perform at events.


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