Morgan City official faces ethics charges
MORGAN CITY, La. -- Charges filed on July 19 by the Louisiana Board of Ethics say that Morgan City Public Works Director Mike Loupe violated state ethics rules because he had a “controlling interest” in a subcontractor company that received more than $250,000 from the city for road repair services during 2012.
Intercoastal Redi-Mix LLC, which is owned by Loupe, his wife, Mary O. Loupe, and two sons, Josh Loupe and Nicholas Loupe, was paid a total of $159,846.51 by Southern Constructors LLC from Jan. 19, 2012, to Nov. 14, 2012, for its services to repair city roads, the charges state.
Southern Constructors was contracted by the city to repair roads, according to the charges.
Larry Doiron Inc., which was also contracted to repair roads in the city, paid Intercoastal Redi-Mix $100,052.51 for services for city road repairs from Oct. 16, 2012, to Dec. 20, 2012, according to the charges.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics voted July 18 to file the charges.
The charges say that Loupe violated two state laws.
One state law cited “provides that no public servant, member of his immediate family, or legal entity in which he has a controlling interest shall bid on or enter into any contract, subcontract, or other transaction which is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such public servant,” the charges state.
Another law cited “provides that no public servant and no legal entity in which the public servant exercises control or owns an interest in excess of 25 percent, shall receive any thing of economic value for or in consideration of services rendered, or to be rendered, to or for any person during his public service unless such services are neither performed for nor compensated by any person from whom such public servant would be prohibited (by another statute) from receiving any gift,” the charges state.
The Louisiana Board of Ethics requested that the Ethics Adjudicatory Board conduct a hearing on the charges, determine if Loupe and Intercoastal Redi-Mix violated state laws, and that the appropriate penalty be assessed.
No hearing has been set for the charges, Louisiana Board of Ethics Administrator Kathleen Allen said. The charges were filed with the State Division of Administrative Law. Three judges sit on panel to “determine the merits of those charges,” Allen said.
“Just like any other lawsuit, there will be discovery periods, and other time frames that probably would happen before the actual hearing is scheduled,” Allen said.
Loupe said he did not want to comment on the charges until a written ruling is issued.
The city’s 2012 audit report performed by CPA firm Kolder, Champagne, Slaven & Company cited the possible ethics violations.
The audit report stated that “The city has consulted with its legal counsel and the Louisiana Ethics Administration and is currently awaiting an opinion on the matter. The city will ensure that all employees comply with the annual ethics training and that they understand that they are expected to comply with such statutes.”
Loupe has served as the city’s public works director since 2002 and supervises all contract construction work, issues, enforces building permits and functions as staff for the planning and zoning commission, according to the charges.