The probe into the abuse of public office and money in Clinton has expanded to the East Feliciana Parish School Board, where investigators believe the board may have illegally diverted their materials for private use and allowed a conflict of interest to influence financial agreements, according to a new court documents.
Investigators say they have "reasonable suspicion" that building materials dedicated for the East Feliciana Parish School System and School Board were actually used privately following the August 2016 flood and that a lease with a local health care company may violate state laws on public fund donations, according to a subpoena filed Friday by the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office and State Police.
"The subject property and materials were not used to repair School Board property as reported to the School Board," the subpoena reads.
The Clinton mayor and police chief were arrested Friday on abuse of office and illegal contract allegations after an investigation into how th…
The subpoena alleges that the board's lease contracts with private healthcare company Primary Care Providers for A Healthy Feliciana, Inc., may violate the Louisiana Constitution's prohibition against donation of public funds — and that a former board member who was employed for the healthcare company improperly voted on matters involving the board and his employer.
"The fair market value of the lease contracts between the School Board and Primary Care Providers for A Healthy Feliciana, Inc., ... is approximately $48,000 per year, but the actual dollar amount paid to the Board is $2,500," the subpoena says.
The documents do not describe the exact nature of the lease contract.
A current School Board member told investigators "that former School Board member Broderick Brooks Sr., while an employee of Primary Care Providers for A Healthy Feliciana, Inc., illegally voted on matters involving the (company) that came before the board."
The East Feliciana Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police are investigating the Clinton police chief and other town officials for possibl…
Brooks served on the school board for 5 1/2 years, until he was fatally shot in May 2016 in what police believe was an armed robbery in a neighborhood in the city of Baton Rouge. He was in his second term.
The subpoena requests all internal documents about any building materials ordered, delivered or purchased by the East Feliciana school system in the months after the August 2016 floods, all bank accounts for the school system, the current lease contract between the board and Primary Care Providers for A Healthy Feliciana, Inc., and minutes from board meetings where any contracts with the healthcare company were discussed or voted on.
East Feliciana Superintendent Carlos Sam said Friday that he had not yet seen the subpoena so he could not comment on the specifics, but he denied the allegations.
"I can assure you that the East Feliciana Parish School Board and its employees are diligent and upstanding stewards of the public funds that are entrusted to our care and that we will cooperate with law enforcement as required to refute these baseless allegations," Sam wrote in a statement Friday.
This subpoena is the latest in a string of arrest warrants and other subpoenas filed in the last month over the mishandling of public funds and abuse of office in Clinton, which come amid mounting financial challenges for the town. Mayor Lori Ann Bell and Police Chief Fred Dunn were arrested in October on abuse of office and illegal contract allegations, after an investigation into the town's contract to lease four Chevrolet Tahoes as police units. The lease led to significant debt for the town and the vehicles have since been returned because the town could not afford to pay the costs. Dunn has since resigned.
However, documents show that investigators are also looking into the Clinton Police Department's narcotics fund and the mayor's court, where they believe money may have been illegally funneled out of the fund and the court may have been overcharging residents, according to other subpoenas filed. It is unclear if more arrests will follow these investigations.
But both Bell and Dunn have now acquired attorneys, who both say the charges against their clients are fruitless.
“She’s not resigning as mayor," said attorney Niles Haymer, who is representing Bell. "There has been absolutely no criminal activity."
Haymer called the allegations against Bell "shameful," and believe they are the outcome of a political attack from the small faction of her opponents. He called Bell a public servant who he said has represented the town to the best of her ability.
Jim Holt, who is representing Dunn, said he's aware of further allegations that could still come down against Dunn, but said there has been no wrongdoing by his client.
"Fred Dunn is completely innocent, and as the case unfolds that will be proven in court," Holt said.
A probe into allegations of malfeasance by the town of Clinton's leaders has expanded to the Mayor's Court, where documents show investigators…