The president of the West Feliciana Parish Police Jury is facing state ethics charges for accepting compensation from a prohibited source.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics alleges Kenneth Dawson received some $12,000 from Rural Broadcasting Services while the firm had a business relationship with the Police Jury.
The charges have been forwarded to the Ethics Adjudicatory Board for judicial action. An Aug. 5 date has been set for discovery in the case. No hearing has been set.
If the EAB finds a violation occurred, Dawson could face financial penalties equal to the amount he received from the firm with an additional penalty equal to half that amount.
“We are fighting it,” Dawson said, noting that he has hired an attorney to represent him in the case.
“At this point in the process we can’t have any comment,” Dawson said.
The case involves compensation Dawson received from Rural Broadcasting Services, the rural broadband-based television network owned by BDepew Enterprises LLC.
BDepew Enterprises provides national and regional news and events programming to the parishes of West Feliciana, East Feliciana and Pointe Coupee.
None of the details leading to the charges against Dawson were disclosed in the document forwarded to the EAB. The Ethics Board settled a case involving BDepew Enterprises’ role and information is laid out within it as follows:
In January 2009, BDepew Enterprises began billing West Feliciana Parish for half the cost of services provided to the West Feliciana Parish Community Development Foundation by the company.
From the next year, West Feliciana Parish paid BDepew Enterprises $1,700 monthly for providing television broadcasting services to the foundation.
“In November of 2009, Mr. Dawson verbally contracted with RBS to provide consulting services in television broadband infrastructure deployment,” according to the Ethics Board document.
“From November 2009 through January of 2010, Mr. Dawson earned approximately $12,000 for services provided to RBS,” the document said.
BDepew Enterprises signed a consent opinion with the board agreeing that the firm violated the ethics law banning a person from paying a public servant anything of economic value when the public servant is prohibited from receiving it.
The Ethics Board did not levy a fine against the company. Company officials said they had relied on “a verbal interpretation” of the law.