BATON ROUGE -- A scathing state audit, released Monday morning, points to possible improper spending by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.
The report, by Louisiana's Legislative Auditor, said the board was lax in controlling the spending of some of the $30 million from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
The report said that the board’s former executive director Ewell Smith approved payments for sponsorship events “in excess of the limits previously authorized by the board.”
In one case, the audit claims Smith more than doubled a $200,000 sponsorship of the recent Super Bowl held in the Louisiana Superdome without board approval.
According to the audit, the board did not maintain adequate records to account for $650,000 in promotional merchandise from the New Orleans Saints, including Superdome Club passes, parking passes, and 16 season tickets to Saints games.
The report claims the board also received an additional $15,000 in Saints jerseys and golf polo shirts as promotional merchandise.
Smith has resigned as the board's executive director and the board has since been moved from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to the Lt. Governor's Office.