LAFAYETTE, La. (KATC) — The latest audit has been released for the Lafayette Marshal’s Office, which spans November 2017 to November 2018. It gives a clearer picture of how much money officials believe Marshal Brian Pope collected in commissions and fees, despite an Attorney General’s opinion stating he could not. The report also states what the interim marshal is doing to fix the issues brought to light.
Here are a few of the major issues highlighted:
Marshal Brian Pope continued to collect commission for garnishment collections and civil fees, despite an Attorney General’s Opinion indicating he could not. Auditors say between February until he was suspended in October, he collected $29,130 in commission for garnishment collections that he was not entitled to. He was also paid $66,733 in civil fees, which auditors say was not deposited in the Marshal’s office account. Felony charges are pending on both matters. The marshal’s office now says that both fees are currently being deposited in a separate bank account pending the outcome of Pope’s trial.
Auditors say Pope paid for lodging and registration in March of 2018 and June of 2018 for two conferences using the office’s credit card. The lodging was for condos that included numerous bedrooms which were more expensive than the conference hotel, and spanned days outside of the conference days. The Marshal asked for reimbursement for the days of the actual conference, but reportedly did not reimburse the Marshal’s Office for the $3,248 he was reimbursed. He also didn’t reimburse the Marshal’s Office for the $4,053 to cover his personal lodging. Felony charges are pending for this. In April of 2019, Pope reportedly paid the Marshal’s Office $7,301 for the expenses. Interim City Marshal Michael Hill says they’re meeting with LCG to make sure expenses paid by the Marshal’s Office in the future will go to the office, not the employee.