Embattled Oberlin mayor expected to resign

Rick Smith. (Theresa Schmidt / KPLC)
Rick Smith. (Theresa Schmidt / KPLC)

OBERLIN, LA (KPLC) - Embattled Oberlin Mayor Rick Smith may be on his way out of office.

Allen Parish Clerk of Court Gerald Harrington has confirmed to KPLC that Smith submitted his resignation to the Secretary of State.

Harrington said that Smith said he would mail his letter of resignation to Baton Rouge on Wednesday. Secretary of State spokeswoman Meg Casper told KPLC that the resignation is not official until it is received by their office.

Smith, who has been accused of using town materials and resources in a subdivision he owns, could not be reached for comment.

Last week, a preliminary audit report concerning Smith was forwarded to state police. Smith said he's seen the preliminary audit and denied he did anything wrong. He also predicted that investigators will not find he did anything illegal or improper.

A special meeting was held Tuesday night in Oberlin about the town's financial crisis. Elected officials and the public took the meeting as a chance to sound-off about what has been called a total breakdown of cooperation between the council and Smith.

"We try to take care of the community. We try to bring things up to the mayor," councilman Mark Manuel said. "We try to get things passed where it benefits the community. We just get (pushed) out of the way. We have no say-so."

Smith was absent from the meeting. A family member said Smith had to work at another job.

Oberlin is months behind on some of its bills, and at least two local businesses have refused to let town employees charge any more on credit until the accounts are settled.

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