Thursday, July 25, 2013
A federal appeals court has ordered a district judge to reconsider a $6 million penalty against CITGO Petroleum in a lawsuit over a 2006 oil spill at the company's Lake Charles refinery. In June of 2006, heavy rains caused two "slop oil" tanks at the refinery to overflow, sending pollutants into nearby waterways, including the Calcasieu River. A recent 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling instructs U.S. District Judge Richard Haik to re-evaluate the company's prior environmental violations and its decision to put off needed upgrades that might have prevented the spill. The Advocate reports the Justice Department, which brought the suit, had sought penalties of $247 million, arguing that CITGO had cut corners on safety to improve its bottom line.
A LAFAYETTE MAN HAS PLED GUILTY TO TWO FEDERAL CRIMES, ONE INVOLVING AN INVESTMENT SCHEME AND THE OTHER HAD TO DO WITH THE SALE OF SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA AT CURIOUS GOODS. 44-YEAR-OLD RICHARD JOSEPH BUSWELL FACES UP TO 20 YEARS IN JAIL FOR EACH CASE, AND HE COULD PAY MORE THAN TEN MILLION DOLLARS IN FINES, RESTITUTION AND FORFEITURE. AROUND ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE IN LAFAYETTE LOST EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS IN A RISKY INVESTMENT, IN WHICH BUSWELL RECEIVED ONE-POINT-7 MILLION DOLLARS IN COMMISSION. IN THE OTHER CASE, BUSWELL SUPERVISED THE DISTRIBUTION AND SALE OF FIVE MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA MARKETED AS “MR. MIYAGI” AT CURIOUS GOODS OVER A TEN MONTH PERIOD.
A BREAUX BRIDGE MAN WAS ARRESTED SUNDAY FOR ALLEGEDLY CONDUCTING DRUG ACTIVITY IN HIS HOME ON WEST PATIN STREET. OFFICERS RECEIVED A TIP ABOUT STOLEN ITEMS AND DRUG ACTIVITY AT THE HOUSE AND FOUND MULTIPLE DRUGS INCLUDING CRACK COCAINE, MARIJUANA, SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA, METHAMPHETAMINES AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. 28-YEAR-OLD MICHAEL CASTILLE WAS ARRESTED ON NUMEROUS DRUG POSSESSION CHARGES. A FOUR-YEAR-OLD CHILD WAS PRESENT AT THE HOME, WHICH MEANS CASTILLE WILL ALSO FACE A CHARGE OF POSSESSION OF A DANGEROUS CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE IN THE PRESENCE OF A CHILD.
The Republican National Committee is bolstering Louisiana GOP efforts to oust U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. The RNC has paid to hire a state director for the Republican Party of Louisiana, as part of its ongoing work to defeat Landrieu, a Democrat seeking a fourth term in office, in the 2014 Senate race. Chris Young is the first state director the RNC has placed in Louisiana, according to Ryan Cross, a spokesman for the state GOP. The announcement Wednesday of Young's hiring comes as the GOP readies for a 100-stop, statewide tour that begins Aug. 16.
Bishop Jude Speyrer (SPY-rer), the founding bishop of the Diocese of Lake Charles, has died. A spokesman for the diocese said Wednesday that Speyrer, who served the diocese for 20 years, died Sunday. He was 84. The Advocate reports a Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for 11 a.m. July 31 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles.
TODAY LOUISIANA STATE POLICE WILL HONOR A FALLEN TROOPER WITH A MEMORIAL ROAD DEDICATION. JULIE DARCY HAS THE DETAILS.
THE U-S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE HAS CHARGED TWO FORMER EMPLOYEES AT
L-S-U EUNICE WITH ONE COUNT EACH OF STEALING FEDERAL FUNDS. MARVETTE J. THOMAS IS ACCUSED OF STEALING MORE THAN 68 THOUSAND DOLLARS WHILE CARRA SERGENT ALLEGEDLY STOLE NEARLY 75 THOUSAND DOLLARS. THE THEFT ALLEGEDLY OCCURRED OVER A THREE-AND-A-HALF YEAR PERIOD BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 2008 TO FEBRUARY OF 2012. BOTH WOMEN WORKED IN THE OFFICE OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS WHERE, ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, THEY EMBEZZLED COLLEGE MONEY WHICH THEY USED TO BUY GOODS FOR THEMSELVES.
There's a vacancy on the Louisiana Board of Ethics. Vice Chairman Scott Schneider has resigned from the 11-member board, without providing a reason for stepping down. In his July 3 letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal, Schneider called his time on the board "a wonderful experience." The Times-Picayune reports Jindal appointed Schneider, an attorney from Mandeville, to the board in 2008 and reappointed him in 2011.