On Monday morning, the Louisiana Board of Ethics won its lawsuit against Grand Coteau Mayoral Candidate, Patrick Richard.
Richard is now disqualified from running in the race.
A day after qualifying ended, the board accused Richard of failing to pay thousands of dollars in fines. In court, Richard claimed a payment plan was set up, but he did not submit any proof.
“Mr. Richard owed the state $2600 in late fees I believe for not filing a financial statement. The law states that if you owe the state any money you cannot be a candidate for election or you are disqualified,” says Charles Jagneaux, St. Landry Parish Clerk of Court.
By default, incumbent mayor, Shaterral Johnshon, will now hold on to her position.
“All I can say is this is unbelievable, shocking,” says Johnson. Johnson is now remembering her sister, who she called her guardian angel. “I did these name badges and I said she’s my shadow. She’s going to be with me wherever I go. I know she’s looking out for me and she played a major part along with God for this to happen.”
Johnson’s sister, Shameka, was stabbed to death in Sunset on August 26th. Johnson was appointed interim mayor less than a month earlier on July 31st. Prior to her appointment, Johnson served as Alderman for eight years and Mayor Pro Tem for four years.
Johnson is looking forward to continuing the work she started since her first day in office. “It is not about me. It’s about us, team Grand Coteau. The girls in the office, the utility department, the police department and the police chief, we work together. The fire department and the citizens, this is a community effort. It’s about team Grand Coteau.”
Johnson already has a few projects in the works. She says more jobs could be on the way for the town. “We work well with the St. Landry Parish Economic Board, the SLID department. The director there, we’ve been working very closely with him to bring jobs, plus I’m a business person. I have many people interested in coming to Grand Coteau.”
Johnson says she is excited about serving as mayor for the next three years. She says they are now in the process of planning her swearing in ceremony.
General election will be held October 24th.