Juror returns mileage funds

CROWLEY - Crowley-area Police Juror Alton “Al” Stevenson said he never asked for mileage reimbursement for attending a national conference in Texas and returned the $432.48 Tuesday night.

In a 10- to 15-minute diatribe, Stevenson alleged he was harassed and was the subject of racial overtones by fellow jurors during the National Association of Counties Convention held in Fort Worth, Texas.

However, at issue was the money he received as reimbursement for mileage since he rode to and from the convention with fellow Juror Dale Trahan.

Acting on the recommendation of Finance Committee Chair Julie Borill, the jury will submit Stevenson’s travel expense report to the Louisiana Board of Ethics, the state Legislative Auditor and the district attorney for review.

Before handing over a money envelope to Secretary-Treasurer Richard “Dickie” Latiolais, Stevenson recounted events surrounding the convention, claiming that he filed a complaint upon his return because he said he was called “a monkey” and was told he “was blacker than a shoe.”

He said he was asked repeatedly at the convention and upon his return if he had ridden with anyone.

“I told them it was none of their business how I got there,” he said. “Why were they asking just me?”

Two jurors — Borill and President A.J. “Fatty” Broussard — specifically denied having some of the allegations and conversations Stevenson claimed to have had with them at the convention center.

He went on to say that he did not sign the reimbursement request. However, a copy of the signed document was presented.

He said the money was not taxpayer money but was funding that had been allocated for the convention.

But jurors explained that all police jury monies are generated by taxes, whether “budgeted” for certain purposes or not.

Juror Robert Guidry offered to accept Stevenson’s repayment of the funds and “move forward and call it square,” but Broussard would not allow that.

Addressing Trahan, Broussard asked, “Did you drive your vehicle to the convention?”

Trahan responded in the affirmative.

“Did anyone ride with you?” Broussard asked.

“Yes, Al Stevenson,” Trahan responded.

Trahan added that he had been reimbursed for his mileage to and from the convention.

David Savoy read from state statute defining “official misconduct,” which included “reimbursement by false statement.”

In other action, funding to pay the Crowley Fire Department to respond to fire calls in the newly created Fire District 11 has been depleted.

The jury allocated $10,000 in June that was supposed to last until Jan. 15, 2014.

A special meeting to consider another $10,000 allocation will be held at 7 a.m. Thursday.

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