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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Appeals court overturns parish president's ethics ruling

Appeals court overturns parish president's ethics ruling

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal has overturned an ethics ruling that would have required Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph to pay more than $55,000 in penalties.
According to the Daily Comet, Randolph rented out her Grand Isle camp to BP after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Once learning of an ethics board ruling in an unrelated case, Randolph terminated the rental agreement with BP and reported the agreement to the state Board of Ethics.
The board later ruled she was in violation of Louisiana law because the parish was in a contract with the oil giant at the time of the rental. Randolph was fined $5,000 and ordered to repay the $50,000 she received for rent.
The primary issue was whether the parish was in an active contract with BP.
The appellate court ruled that the $1 million BP gave the parish for its workers to aid in the oil-spill cleanup was an irreversible, nonrefundable payment, not a contract, and was complete once the payment went through.
The judges came to the conclusion that no contractual, business, or financial relationship existed between BP and (Lafourche) Parish during the period of time the Randolphs leased their camp to BP.
The ethics board is now responsible for Randolph’s legal fees but also has the option of appealing the case to the Louisiana Supreme Court.