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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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Parish President must pay after violating ethics law

Parish President must pay after violating ethics law

The Louisiana State Ethics Board ruled last week that Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph must pay $60,000 for violating a state ethics law when she rented her Grand Isle camp to BP during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010.

The Houma Courier reports the Ethics Board ruled Friday that Randolph must repay $50,000 in ill-gotten gains in addition to a $10,000 fine for violating laws that prohibit a public servant from receiving money from entities parish government has a contract with.

Randolph only said she is reviewing her options. The ruling stipulates Randolph may apply for a rehearing with the board within 10 days. She can also appeal the ruling in court.

Randolph said she and her husband decided to lease the property after "conversations with friends and other officials" about "similar arrangements they had with BP."

The couple were paid $100 per night for each person using the property. They were paid about $50,000 total for the rental.

Before that agreement between Randolph and BP was reached, the parish entered into a contract to accept $1 million from BP to cover costs related to the spill.

At the hearing, Randolph argued the disaster, not her personal dealings, led to the parish entering into the contract with BP. She also argued that her authority as parish president, even if wielded in return for rent money, has no bearing on BP's legal battles.

"We further determine that the extraordinary circumstances involved do not excuse her conduct," the ruling states in response.