Audit reveals serious problems at tax assessor's office

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - An audit of the Calcasieu Tax Assessor's office has revealed serious problems including misappropriation of funds and expenses that appear extravagant and excessive - including the leasing of a car for assessor Richard Cole at nearly $2,000 per month.

The audit for the year 2009 says the taxing district leased a 2009 Chevy Suburban at $1,929 a month for a period of 24 months. The audit says a total of $46,000 will be paid over the term of the lease.

The audit also reveals alleged misappropriation of funds including the District's American Express card being used for Cole's personal expenses.

The audit says more than $48,000 worth of personal expenses were paid for Cole between May 2008 through June 2010.

The auditors report does say that some money has been paid back to the district.

As required by law, the Louisiana legislative auditor and Calcasieu District Attorney have been notified of the findings.

There is no word yet as to what action the DA will take.  We have called Cole for a comment, but have not yet heard back from him.

For a link to read the entire audit log, click here.

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