Financial investigation ongoing for Town of Gibsland

Financial investigation ongoing for Town of Gibsland

GIBSLAND, LA (KSLA) - The Sheriff's Department is being tight-lipped about what they found two months ago when Bienville Parish and State Officials raided the Gibsland Town hall. Sheriff John Ballance says the investigation isn't over.

At the center of the Sheriff's Department investigation is thousands of dollars in missing town funds. In an interview on May 15, Sheriff Ballance told KSLA News 12, the lack of a paper trail was making the probe difficult.

That's something CPA firm: Edwards, Wade, and Perry can relate with, they are preparing the town's annual financial audit.  Ksla News 12 got a hold of the draft copy of their 2012 audit and found for a second year in a row, the town didn't maintain proper financial records to allow "adequate auditing procedures". The CPA firm declined to comment further.  Mayor Pro Tem and Alderman Marketris Jones says he's tired of the town's messy financial situation. "Those that have put the town in the predicament it is in, needs to be accountable for their actions."

Jones claims the financial issues began when Odis Odell Key took the office of mayor again in 2011.  "The past two years has been a living nightmare," Jones said and adds it's taken some digging to get an idea of where some of the money has been going.  According to Jones, the mayor has spent thousands on unauthorized expenses.  Some of which include: $20,000.00 paid to United Pumps Rental, $3,500.00 in travel expenses, and $300.00 for flowers. "For each tax payer that's in this town, they need to know where their money is going," said Jones.

KSLA News 12 went to town hall to ask Mayor Key about the draft audit and alleged expenses. Key told us he had not seen the draft audit yet and wouldn't answer our questions, but he did promise to talk to us next week.  Sheriff Ballance says his investigation should wrap up in a month or so.

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