The Clinton mayor and police chief were arrested Friday on abuse of office and illegal contract allegations after an investigation into how the town came to lease four police vehicles under a contract that has led to a significant debt, according to court filings.
Arrest warrants for Clinton Mayor Lori Ann Bell and Police Chief Fred Dunn were filed by the East Feliciana Sheriff's Office on Friday morning. Dunn and Bell quickly turned themselves in and each posted $20,000 bails, according to parish jail records.
The arrest warrants allege the town officials knowingly and willingly violated three state laws: approval of applications, leased movables by false representation, and malfeasance in office.
Bell and Dunn signed a multi-year contract in June 2016 for the lease of four Chevrolet Tahoe vehicles, which Bell signed as the lessee on behalf of the town and Dunn signed as the counsel for the lease, the warrants say. Dunn is not an attorney, former court filings note.
Their warrants allege that by signing the lease without a resolution from the Clinton Board of Aldermen or a correspondence between the town and the State bond Commission, Bell was "incurring debt on behalf of the town in violation of (state law)," the warrant says.
The arrest warrants come amid mounting fiscal challenges for the small town, including its inability to pay for the leased police vehicles, which have been taken away from the town.
Neither Bell nor Dunn could be immediately reached for comment.
Other court documents show that investigators are also looking into Dunn's oversight of his department's narcotics fund and how he is spending that money.
East Feliciana Sheriff's Chief Criminal Deputy Greg Phares would not say whether further arrests are expected with Dunn or Bell, but said investigators continue their work.
"I hope that Clinton can get back to a government that serves its people rather than expecting its people to serve them," Phares said. "I’m hoping they can return to fiscal soundness, they’ve dug themselves a big hole with these Tahoes. ... (They are) having problems providing basic services."
The East Feliciana Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police are investigating the Clinton police chief and other town officials for possibl…