St. Landry

Jul 6, 2011 11:26 PM by Shawn Kline

Opelousas Audit finds questionable expenses

A Legislative Audit suggests the city of Opelousas broke the law and even the state constitution, but city officials are holding their ground. They say no laws were broken..
Auditors found a number of concerns-- over $1,000 in improper time sheets and nearly $6,000 stolen from scrap metal sales.

"Nobody's saying, 'oh man, look what happened here- this is horrible.'" Mayor Don Cravins told reporters last week. "(the issues in the audit) were mostly procedural deficiencies."

Cravins held a press conference to highlight some of the audit's findings before they were released to the general public. In that meeting, the mayor didn't mention nearly $100,000 in possibly illegal purchases.

The majority of those expenses surrounding a $42,000 roof repair for the city library. That project was awarded to Anderson Iron Works- a company auditors say didn't even submit a bid but received $21,000 up front.
Opelousas Special Projects Manager Daryl Wagley says there are legitimate reasons for these decisions and none of them break the law.

"If we declare something is an emergency, we can go ahead and get somebody who knows how to do the job and come in and do it." Wagley says there's another option too: "or get three people to come in and give you a proposal in one day."

We tried contacting Anderson Iron Works about these jobs but no one returned our calls. However, the owner was quoted in the Daily Advertiser saying, "none of them were public bids."



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