St. Gabriel council subpoenaed to federal grand jury

Deidre Cruse, Governmental Reporter

The five members of the St. Gabriel City Council were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury today (Wednesday), sources confirmed.

St. Gabriel Mayor George L. Grace has been under investigation in connection with promoting Cifer 5000, a conceptual garbage can cleaning service that turned out to be a federal sting operation.

Grace told the POST/SOUTH in July that he called other mayors and asked them to look at the product because the company proposed to use a parish-owned building on La. 1 as the terminal for its operations. Iberville Parish's garbage collection does not use the standardized garbage cans needed for the product to work here, he said.

Grace was reported away from his office on Monday and Tuesday, and did not return the newspaper's calls for comment on the subpoenas.

The FBI searched Grace's city office on June 21, the same day they searched White Castle Town Hall and City of Port Allen offices.

Shortly afterwards, a federal grand jury indicted White Castle Mayor Maurice Brown and his brother, White Castle Police Chief Mario Brown, on federal racketeering and bribery counts.

New Roads Mayor Tommy Nelson, Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis and Port Allen Police Chief Fred Smith also have been indicted in connection with the sting operation.

All the men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The FBI served the latest subpoenas to St. Gabriel Council Members Deborah R. Alexander, Flora J. Danielfield, Freddie C. Frazier Sr., Melvin Hasten Sr. and Ralph Johnson Sr.