Audit finds lax controls in spending BP money by La. seafood board

Audit finds lax controls in spending BP money by La. seafood board

Credit: AP

Pelicans watch a shrimp trawler skim oil in Caminada Bay north of Grand Isle, La., Friday, July 9, 2010. The tiny resort island on the Gulf of Mexico is closed to all fishing due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (AP Photo/Chuck Cook)

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 23 at 9:53 AM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

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.  
 

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