Drainage board asks for investigation

May 1, 2007
By  Theresa Schmidt

Moss Bluff Drainage Board members will ask the Calcasieu Sheriff's Department to investigate allegations that public equipment, employees and resources have been used illegally to help private board members got an earful from some citizens who question whether misappropriation of drainage resources could be why they don't have better drainage;

Due to the nature of drainage work, public equipment and employees are often private property. That's how they clean out major drainage laterals that cut through . But such work with public equipment, workers and resources must serve a public purpose -- not just help one guy clear his land for example. A litany of allegations have been set forth in a lawsuit filed by two Moss Bluff drainage employees who say they want to blow the whistle and help stop the corruption. Yet at this board meeting citizen Jack Manuel confronted drainage board member Earl Jones about work he says was for Jones benefit alone. Half a work week on a private piece of property for the individual gain of one, not the community and there's got to be a problem in this community.

Jones, responded, "This is not just helping mine it's also behind me. Now that day Jack went over there, I know he was the one who called Calvin Collins. You probably heard about it that day also." And Manuel criticized police juror Calvin Collins who he says saw the work and took no action to stop it. "I want to know why Calvin Collins didn't stop it or do something about it at the time. Because if he didn't do anything about it at the time he's just as guilty as those having illegal work done. Many at this meeting are frustrated with lingering drainage problems they can't seem to get solved. Argued one man, "You all ought to quit feeding me this bull, I've been here three times. I'm tired of this." The board agreed to ask for an investigation members hope will resolve allegations and determine tax dollars are being properly spent.

Since the DA's office represents the drainage board, any criminal wrongdoing found may have to be referred to the state attorney general to avoid a conflict of interest.

The allegations are also expected to come up at this weeks police jury meeting.