FOX 8 received this news release from the U.S. Attorney's office in New Orleans Tuesday afternoon:
RICHARD P. MOLENAAR, III, 47, a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico, was charged today in a one-count bill of information with conspiracy to commit bribery, announced U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.
According to court records, MOLENAAR was the owner of several maintenance/ construction companies, including Ricky's A/C, Inc., Landmark Mechanical Contractors, LLC, and Custom Carpentry Renovations, LLC. From in or around 2008 through in or around 2011, MOLENAAR used these companies to bid on maintenance jobs at the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office ("OPSO"). MOLENAAR's primary point of contact at the OPSO was its former Director of Purchasing, John Sens. According to the bill of information, MOLENAAR, among others, including Sens, engaged in a rigged bidding process for various OPSO maintenance jobs. In particular, from 2007 through 2011, MOLENAAR, among others, would submit bids for OPSO work in the names of his respective companies but, with the knowledge and participation of, among others, Sens, he would also submit phony or fake bids for these same projects in the names of other local companies, in an effort to give the appearance of a competitive bidding process. In many cases, the phony bids would intentionally be higher than the bids from MOLENAAR and, consequently, Sens would award the work to MOLENAAR.
In exchange for this rigged bidding process, according to court documents, MOLENAAR provided Sens with various things of value. For example, from 2007 through 2011, MOLENAAR provided approximately $30,000 in cash to Sens, as well as the digging and installation of a pool at a residence owned by Sens, at no cost to him.
If convicted, MOLENAAR faces a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment, 3 years supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment.
U.S. Attorney Boente reiterated that a Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Matt Chester and Jon Maestri.
Three members of the St. Bernard Parish Council are calling on the parish president to resign. Members Gay McInnis, Ray Lauga and Casey Hunnicutt sent the following statement Thursday: "The followingmore>>
Three members of the St. Bernard Parish Council are calling on the parish president to resign.more>>
Thursday, April 24 2014 8:25 PM EDT2014-04-25 00:25:27 GMT
Rankin County Sheriff's office is investigating the death of a Hinds County Sheriff's Deputy along with his wife. Both were found deceased in their residence at 126 Caledonian Blvd. around 9 last night.more>>
A caller to 911 said the couple's two young children came to their house told them their dad may have shot their mother. more>>
Thursday, April 24 2014 5:05 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:05:22 GMT
According to WTVA, an Amber Alert has been issued for a missing Lowndes County toddler. Lowndes County Chief Deputy Marc Miley says they are searching for 2-year-old Malia Harris of Columbus. Officialsmore>>
Georgia officials believe suspects in the Mississippi Amber Alert case may be in southwest Georgia. Cook County, GA investigators have been actively searching the Lenox area for the suspects. Officials confirmed a heavy presence of law enforcement in that area Wednesday night.more>>
Thursday, April 24 2014 5:41 AM EDT2014-04-24 09:41:16 GMT
Officials say a body has been found in the Dutch Bayou in St. John the Baptist Parish Wednesday afternoon.The St. John Coroner's Office has been called to the scene to collect the body that was found inmore>>
Officials said a body was found in a bayou in St. John the Baptist Parish on Wednesday. The victim's name was not released and the cause of death is unknown. more>>