State ethics panel: Mayor Brown to pay $3,000 fine for violation

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

The Louisiana Board of has ruled White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown violated the state ethics code by providing security for a local convenience store that was doing business with the town, the POST/SOUTH learned Tuesday.

The board imposed a $3,000 fine, although it was authorized to impose a penalty up to $10,000.

“In this particular is the conclusion of the Board that the interest of the public would be served by the imposition of a $3,000 fine,” the board said in an October 28 consent decree that Brown also signed.

The ethics board said it conducted a private investigation after receiving information that Brown might have violated the ethics code by “performing compensated services for a convenience store that has a business relationship with the Town of White Castle.”

According to the Board's report:

Brown, who has been mayor since April 1993, had worked part-time since 2003 providing security service for Popingo's Convenience Store.

In August 2004, the town began using a Fleet Service Card for gasoline purchases, allowing purchases from Chevron, Exxon, Mobile, Texaco and Shell stations. Before that, White Castle purchased fuel in bulk from an out-of-town merchant.

Since August 2004, the town bought nearly $35,000 worth of Mobile gas from Popingo's, and $41,228 from Bordelon's Chevron, two local merchants.

From August 2004 through December 31, 2006, Popingo's paid Brown just over $15,000 for his security services.

The ethics board cited a state law that “no public servant and no legal entity in which public servant exercises control or owns an interest in excess of 25 percent, shall receive anything of economic value for or in consideration of services rendered, or to be rendered, to or for any person during his public service...”