“Diamond” Charlie Caldwell was the subject of a lawsuit by attorney John Settle for failure to release public records. Shreveport City Marshal Caldwell as a “Public Body” is required to release records of expenditures of public funds. It was reported here and in The Inquisitor that “Diamond” Charlie had allocated significant public resources to travel, wine & dine himself, his escort, and numerous deputy marshals on trips reported as “training” or “educational” in nature.
The suit was filed because “Diamond” Charlie’s office has been requested on July 10, 2011 to produce the documents, and the office would only release summary material. Specifics of the request were related to a “whistle blower” who has referenced details of the expenses. The specifics of the lawsuit are that “Diamond” Charlie’s office must release “receipts, credit card charges/debits. cash payments…” or any other records that document the transfer of City Marshal funds for the purposes of the trips noted.
The initial request of July 10, 2011 was followed by Settle’s request for “… a list, by month, of all credit/debit card charges on credit cards of the city marshal office since Caldwell was sworn into office…” Louisiana law provides that these records must be kept and also provided to any person seeking disclosure.
Settle’s lawsuit seeks that the records as well as reimbursement of costs, as provided by law. “Diamond” Charlie, it appears, will not only have to release the documents but his office will pay a penalty for his failure to comply with legal guidelines.
Additional reports of improper use of taxpayer moneys on travel will be in the spot light very soon. Taxpayers have become more sensitive to public officials who are not better stewards of the Public’s Money! It’s not an elected official’s job to use public resources to be a “Traveling” publicity seeker!
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