Pointe Coupee police juror disqualified from seeking fourth term; failed to pay ethics fines in full _lowres

Mitch Langlois

A Pointe Coupee Parish police juror has been disqualified from seeking a fourth term in office because he failed to disclose in qualifying papers that he owes more than $5,000 in fines to the state’s Board of Ethics.

The Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously agreed Friday to uphold an appellate court’s ruling that barred John “Sassy” Pourciau from seeking re-election to the District 2 seat.

Pourciau’s disqualification means an automatic win for his only challenger, Mitch Langlois, a newcomer from Morganza.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” said Pourciau, who has served on the Police Jury for 12 years. “I think it was nothing but politics.”

District Court Judge Alvin Batiste ruled on Sept. 21 that Pourciau could remain in the Oct. 24 election because he was on a payment plan to settle his outstanding debt to the Board of Ethics.

But in a Sept. 28 ruling, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal said a 2011 amendment to the state’s election code makes it mandatory for outstanding debts to the Board of Ethics be repaid before qualifying — even if a candidate is on a payment plan.

“It’s sad. My people are mad right now,” Pourciau said. “My people love me.”

The Morganza Democrat said the Ethics Board levied a $6,000 fine for failing to submit campaign finance reports in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The juror says he has been making gradual payments totaling $900 over the past nine months.

Officials with the Board of Ethics said Monday the state filed similar lawsuits against 14 other elected officials across the state that resulted in 11 disqualifications.

“I’m going to miss my people. I did my job,” Pourciau said Monday.

Langlois, 54, is now a town councilman for the village of Morganza who said he entered the Police Jury race because he wanted to serve the people “at the next level.”

“I was trying to get out and meet all the people of the district to earn their support,” he said Monday after learning about Pourciau’s ejection from the race. “I’ll probably continue to try and meet with the people I’ll be representing.”

Langlois, who is also a member of the parish’s volunteer fire department in District 2, did not want to comment on Pourciau’s disqualification, offering him good wishes in the future.

There are still eight seats open on the Police Jury as the Oct. 24 election draws near.

Three of the jury’s 12 seats have been filled in unopposed races — mostly by incumbents.

Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.