Sunday, March 18, 2007

Another Corruption Story ...

From AP, by way of the New York Times:

The former clerk of the criminal court in New Orleans improperly handled more than $364,000 in evidence-room money, failed to document her office’s credit card spending and used public money on her own nonprofit group, a possible violation of the Louisiana Constitution, according to a recently released auditor’s report.

The report, from the Office of the Legislative Auditor, included some of the same accusations against the former clerk, Kimberly Williamson Butler, as those cited earlier by the New Orleans district attorney, including that she misused public money and signed an $8 million contract for cleanup work after Hurricane Katrina that was never done.

These were among the accusations in the auditor’s report:

¶Ms. Butler signed the $8 million contract with BioDefense America, a little-known Florida company, for cleanup of flood damage, but no evidence exists that work was performed. The contract provided for an initial payment to BioDefense of $200,000 or $350,000; separate documents signed by Ms. Butler do not agree on the amount. BioDefense abandoned the project, and another company was hired last year for $4.3 million.

¶Ms. Butler used $364,665 in evidence-room money without the required approval from the city, which legally controls such money.

¶She failed to keep records when she and her employees used her office’s credit cards. For 279 purchases, totaling $41,804, Ms. Butler’s office had receipts or documentation for 75, or fewer than a third.

Ms. Butler, who did not run for re-election as clerk, dropped out of public life after a failed campaign for mayor last year.

She did not return a message seeking comment.

Her lawyer, John Reed, noted that previous criminal inquiries into Ms. Butler’s actions had come to nothing. Mr. Reed also said none of the accusations indicated that Ms. Butler had used her office to enrich herself.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


Post a Comment

<< Home