ST. CHARLES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A St. Charles Parish councilwoman says a deal she made with her nephew that would net him $1.6 million of parish funds is fair.
The councilwoman sold land to her nephew for $100, then four days later her nephew made an agreement with the parish to lease that land for $54,000 a year.
The St. Charles Council is at odds over where and how to build a boat launch on the west side of the parish. The timing of the land swap between the councilwoman and her nephew are questionable as is the price the parish's elected officials agreed to pay. But councilwoman Mary Clulee said there's nothing wrong with how the deal was made.
Monday night after a Parish Council meeting, Councilwoman Clulee initially refused to answer any questions on camera. But soon after, she started talking about the land off Highway 90 near Boutte.
"Do I think it was a fair lease? Yes," she said.
Reporter: "Do you have a receipt from him has any money exchanged hands between you and your nephew?"
Clulee: "It doesn't make any difference."
Clulee admits she worked with the parish to find a place to build a boat launch, and she said it just so happens her place was the best location.
"For the residents, I tried to get a location for the residents in my district for the residents of St. Charles Parish, and I did get a location," Cluelee said.
Reporter: "What other locations did you look it at?"
Clulee never answered the question.
Councilman Paul Hogan argues the land is worth between $15,000 and $20,000. Clulee argues its worth more than that but would not provide an exact amount.
Clulee: "I sold it for a fair amount."
Reporter: "How much is that amount?"
Clulee: "It doesn't make any difference what I sold the I sold it for. It whatever the parish wanted to lease it for."
Clulee said it doesn't matter because after FOX 8 started asking questions about the lease, the parish president, who initially introduced the lease, quickly said he would cancel it.
Clulee said no one has directly complained to her about land lease.
"I work hard for what I have, and I'm sure you work hard for what you have, so why would I just give it away?" Clulee said. "I have kids, I have grandkids, don't think I'm entitled to something,, so if I sell the property, I can at least reap that."