BATON ROUGE- State lawmakers visibly shaken Thursday after learning startling revelations in the audit report concerning Former State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson.
In the three-hour meeting, the auditors broke down a lengthy list of questionable practices and behavior over several years, including the misuse of state police personnel to run errands for Edmonson's family, rooms purchased by the City of New Orleans for state troopers during Mardi Gras being used by Edmonson's relatives and friends, and receiving free meals and improper travel expenditures.
"Unfortunately the audit report shows some pretty significant findings that I think may lead to some more action," Rep. Julie Stokes said.
Representative Julie Stokes is the vice-chair of the Legislative Audit Advisory Committee. She finds the report troubling.
"The hardest part of it for, and I think other legislators will agree is that we're in such dire straights in the state of Louisiana right now. With our budget problems and deficit problems and the fiscal cliff, that to hear of something like this happening. It's just a heartbreak," Rep. Stokes said.
In addition to ethics violations, Edmonson could face criminal charges ranging from fraud, malfeasance and misuse of public funds and property.
"I have been told just by various people on the side, that it's very likely. And it could very well come from the US Attorney's Office," Rep. Stokes said.
Kevin Reeves, the new head of the State Police says the department promises to remain open and transparent during this investigation.
"The good news is we believe we have sound policies and procedures in place. However, we must do a better job to insure that they are followed by every employee, again regardless of position...or rank," Col. Kevin Reeves said.
"I think it's very important after you have a report like that, that there's a significant internal control review and policy review with the legislative auditor hand in hand with their internal auditor that they have to police," Rep. Stokes said.