Caddo commissioner requests ethics opinion on conflict of interest concerns related to Elio

Caddo commissioner requests ethics opinion on conflict of interest concerns related to Elio

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Critics of Elio Motors say the promise of hundreds of good paying jobs, and the long-anticipated arrival of the three wheeled car have grown stale over time.

Now, some are getting anxious about the return on their investment and they're also upset that an elected official may be profiting before others.

2015 was finally supposed to be the year of Elio, but now it's looking like 2016. District 8 Caddo Commissioner John Escude isn't waiting. He's already working at the plant for a company called Comau.

We're told the company is connected to Elio Motors and some believe it's a conflict of interest.

His seat was empty on Thursday, but earlier in May Escude announced that he has requested an ethics opinion regarding the conflict of interest accusations surrounding his position on the board and his connection to Elio Motors.

"The last regular session meeting he actually said that he volunteered to do his own investigation. Well, do an investigation through the attorney general's office," said commission president Lyndon Johnson.

This comes after citizens expressed their concerns about a commissioner holding a job with a company associated with Elio before they hire anyone else.

"There have not been any jobs produced and it doesn't look like any jobs are coming," said Lester Smith.

Smith is with "Citizens for Change" and he feels it wasn't right for commissioner Escude to vote on the $7.5 million purchase of the General Motors plant and then accept employment at the plant. However, Johnson says the money used to purchase the plant was an investment and has nothing to do with Elio.

"If they don't become a tenant of the building, we still purchased the building for Caddo Parish," said Johnson.

Smith says promises were made, "we've yet to see the job, but he has a job out at the plant that was supposed to hire 1,500 people that was the promise."

Elio motors was expected to become the tenant when commissioners voted 11 to 1 in favor of using tax-payers money to purchase the building and with no jobs in sight, smith says he just wants justice.

"That is a conflict of interest, I don't care how you slice it or how you dice it," said Smith.

Commission president Johnson says whether Elio becomes the tenant or not, jobs will be brought to Shreveport and the investment won't be in vain.

The "Citizens of Change" have also reached out to the state board of ethics regarding Escude.

Commissioners also discussed a resolution to let state legislators know their feelings on reducing marijuana sentencing. They say lesser punishment for smaller crimes like marijuana could ultimately save taxpayers some money. They argue that the time should fit the crime.

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