Audit: Failed sugar mill cost La. taxpayers $71M - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Audit: Failed sugar mill cost La. taxpayers $71M

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By MELINDA DESLATTE
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A new audit says the state lost $71 million in taxpayer money on a failed sugar syrup mill in southwest Louisiana.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office looked at the building, leasing and selling of the Lacassine (lah-kuh-SEEN') mill.

In a report issued Monday, auditors say Louisiana spent $76.7 million on the mill and recouped $5.7 million through its sale in October.

The facility in Jefferson Davis Parish, completed in 2006, was pushed by former Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom as a way to help Louisiana's sugar industry, but it was a failure from the start.

Built for a group of cane farmers, the mill overshot its budget, never yielded the profit Odom projected and was idle for several years before it was sold for scrap.

The report is online at: http://1.usa.gov/1nxeunL

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