January 3, 1997
Raymond and Margaret Goins
1312 Henry Bass Road
DeRidder, LA 70634
RE: Ethics Commission Docket No. 96-273
Dear Mrs. Goins:
The Commission on Ethics for Public Employees and its successor, the Louisiana Board of Ethics (the "Board), after conducting a confidential investigation, believes you and your husband violated Section 1113B of the Code of Governmental Ethics. The information obtained during the course of the investigation, and considered by the Board, suggests the following:
You serve as Chairman of the South Vernon Waterworks District No. 1 Board.
The South Vernon Waterworks Board audits, supervises, and constructs projects which manage water drainage, pipelines, and wells within the Board's district.
The Water Board hired an engineer to construct a water system capable of supplying 1000 customers with running water in areas outside of Rosepine, LA. Due to lead and copper problems with Rosepine's water supply, a supply of higher quality water needed to be located.
A possible supply site was located west of Rosepine. Since you and your husband owned a tract of land in this area, you donated your land to the Water District for testing.
The test site produced the quality of water needed for the project. Accordingly, the Water Board voted unanimously to purchase three plots of land in close proximity to the test site. Included in these purchases was a one acre plot owned by you and your husband. You did not vote on the decision by the Water Board to purchase these three plots of land.
You and your husband were paid $3,500 by the South Vernon Waterworks Board for your tract of land. This price represented a discount when compared to the prices paid for the other two tracts purchased by the Water Board.
Section 1113B of the Code of Governmental Ethics prohibits an appointed member of a board and any member of his immediate family from entering into any contract or other transaction which is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of the appointed member. The definition of "immediate family" includes your spouse. By entering into a contract of sale with the South Vernon Waterworks Board, you and your husband entered into a contract which was under the supervision of your agency, thus, violating Section 1113B of the Code.
However, based upon your cooperation during this investigation along with the fact that the public interest was not harmed by your selling the tract of land which promoted the development of the project, the Board concludes that the fundamental policies of the Code will be satisfied by your agreement to the publication of this letter and your assurance that you will make every effort to abide by all provisions of the Code in the future.
By order of the Louisiana Board of Ethics this 13th day of February , 1997.
s/ Harry Blumenthal, Jr. s/ Carole Cotton Winn
Harry Blumenthal, Jr. Carole Cotton-Winn
s/ Virgil Orr s/ Revius O. Ortique, Jr.
Virgil Orr Revius Ortique, Jr.
s/ T.O. Perry s/ Robert Roland
T.O. Perry Robert Roland
s/ Ronald Sawyer s/ Edwin O. Ware
Ronald Sawyer Edwin O. Ware