BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - A Louisiana Legislative Auditor report found former Louisiana State Police Superintendent Michael Edmonson and at least four state troopers misused state money to pay for travel, hotel rooms, and other improper expenditures.
The LLA received several requests from lawmakers to audit out-of-state travel by troopers.
LSP sent these four employees - Derrell Williams, Rodney Hyatt, Thurman Miller and Alexandr Nezgodinsky - to the conference in a State Police vehicle. They drove from Baton Rouge to San Diego.
But the troopers' drive to San Diego took a detour through northern Texas one night, at a resort town in Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona the next night, and to Las Vegas on the third night.
The troopers spent one night of the four-day trek out west at Las Vegas' Palazzo Hotel. It took four days to get to San Diego.
Edmonson announced his retirement from LSP a month after the Zurik Investigation aired.
Public Safety Services' records and employees' statements indicate that DPS expended $85,486 of public funds for 16 DPS employees, including the 14 troopers to attend the conference in San Diego.
The $85,486 was comprised of $34,131 in travel expenses and $51,355 to cover the costs of the traveling employees' regular time and overtime. In connection with the San Diego trip, the audit found DPS paid at least $12,997 more than necessary.
The detours the troopers took cost more than $5,600 in taxpayer money. Three troopers reported, and were paid for, hours they may not have worked, and the four troopers who traveled to San Diego in the LSP vehicle incurred excessive hotel charges while driving to and from San Diego.
Troopers allowed non-state employees to travel in an LSP vehicle having the person designated an "authorized traveler" and sign, according to the audit.
In addition to the misspending, the audit found other infractions:
- Misuse of LSP Personnel and Assets
- Colonel Edmonson and His Family Resided on the DPS Compound without Proper Authority Cafeteria Provided Meals without Charge
- Improper Special Meal Expenditures
- Fleet Operations Performed Services on Private Vehicles
- LSP Personnel Received Dry Cleaning Allowance and Free Dry Cleaning from the Governor’s Mansion
- Private Use of LSP Training Facilities