Brian Pope, the convicted and suspended Lafayette city marshal with additional criminal charges pending against him, faces new legal trouble.
The Louisiana Ethics Board has filed charges against Pope, accusing him of violating state laws by directing his staff to divert court fees to him for personal use. The ethics board determined that Pope illegally received nearly $420,000 city court fees over a four-year period ending in 2018.
The allegedly illicit income was on top of his annual salary of more than $70,000.
State law allows the marshal to use the fees for operational costs, including deputy salaries, but explicitly forbids the marshal from padding his own salary, as noted in the Ethics Board charges.
The board, in the charges that were filed this month, also accuses Pope of violating state laws banning income derived from his job duties other than his regular salary. In addition, state laws prohibits participation in transactions involving Pope's governmental employer in which he has “personal substantial economic interest.”
An adjudication board will determine if Pope committed the alleged violations and assess penalties if so.
Pope’s practice of pocketing court fees was known long before the Ethics Board filed charges. He currently faces 17 related criminal malfeasance charges in Lafayette Parish criminal court. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for April 4.
Pope was convicted on Oct. 3 on unrelated perjury and malfeasance charges stemming from his use of his office to campaign for his favored candidate in the 2015 election for Lafayette Parish sheriff and a related civil lawsuit.
His sentencing was initially scheduled for Feb. 6, but it has been pushed back to April 3.
Suspended Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope’s sentencing date on four felony charges is Feb. 6.
Pope's conviction resulted in his automatic suspension. City-Parish Council appointed Michael Hill to fill the position on an interim basis.