Auditor: Cochran broke law
Dawson says that he never noticed the FEMA trailer when he conducted his audit, and wasn't aware that the fire station was used to house a couple from New Orleans. Dawson will be reviewing the 2007 records of the St. Rose Fire Station on April 15 and plans to complete his report by June 30.
"If the audit proves that he (Cochran) allowed people to live at the station, I will inform the state's auditor and they could decide to take it a step forward to the ethics board," Dawson, who works for ErickesenKrentel and Laporte Certified Public Accountants and Consultants, said. "We may also speak to the district attorney about the situation."
Dawson also said that if Cochran's mother and the couple did in fact use the utilities, they would have to pay back the fire station in one lump sum. Payment could resolve the situation.
"The St. Rose Fire Department is not a lender, so accepting monthly payments is out of the question," he said.
Dawson says that the new audit will help determine how much money is owed.
"It's a FEMA trailer, so just estimating, it couldn't be anymore than $10,000 or $15,000 in utilities," he said. "The question still remains about why the FEMA trailer was there to begin with because, as far as I know, the station didn't have any damage caused by Katrina. I want an explanation about why the FEMA trailer was needed."
The 2006 audit showed that $6,000 was spent without the proper invoices or receipts to justify the payments, Dawson said. That audit also showed Cochran sold a trailer that was purchased by the fire station with public funds to an individual without holding a public auction, which is also a violation of state law.
"He simply sold a trailer that was purchased with public funds to someone and then deposited the money into a private account at the fire station," he said.
Dawson says this was done in 2005 (after Katrina) and it's too late to ask the person who purchased the trailer to give it back.
"We're not sure if he actually sold it for that amount or not, or if the person even paid the value for what the trailer was worth," he said. "That's the reason that a public auction is held."
Even with the cloud of suspicion hanging over Cochran's head, five council members voted to appoint him as an ex-officio member of the planning and zoning board. Dennis Nuss, Billy Raymond, Shelley Tastet and Wendy Benedetto voted for Cochran, while Terry Authement, Paul Hogan and Carolyn Schexnaydre voted against Cochran's appointment.
Cochran’s alleged illegal activities were not addressed at Monday’s council meeting.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
Pastor Don Logan, of Boutte, was coming back from a meeting in Alexandria when the...
A Killona man faces felony animal cruelty charges after the St. Charles Parish...
Rather than rely on “hopes and prayers” to find funding for the West Bank hurricane...
Beginning April 1, St. Charles Parish Hospital will ban smoking throughout the...
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged a Boutte woman with...
The St. Charles Herald-Guide announces the hiring of reporters Anna Thibodeaux and...
To take control of one's life requires courage. Ms.Lucia specializes in depression, stress and anxiety disorders, parent-child relationships, and marital issues. Taking the first step is often the most difficult.
Killona dog beater re-arrested on felony charges - 1122 views
A Killona man arrested and released on bail last night for allegedly beating a dog to death was arrested again on a new warrant for felony charges Friday afternoon.