Former Louisiana landfill manager suspected of stealing $77K in public money
- Based on an investigation by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office, a former manager at Tangipahoa Parish's landfill is suspected of stealing more than $77,000 in public money, as reported by The Daily Star.
- Officials have identified $27,681 in missing scrap metal sales and $49,330 in missing dump fees. Terrance Stewart, the former manager, is suspected of offering contractors reduced fees for cash payments and also having checks made out to himself.
- Stewart was put on leave once the missing funds were discovered and eventually fired. Tangipahoa Parish is considering civil or criminal charges to get the money back and other suspects could potentially be charged as well. Stewart has hired an attorney, who did not respond to The Daily Star.
In addition to figuring out how they can recoup these funds, parish authorities are also looking at ways to prevent it from happening again. Stewart is thought to have been doing this for three years and wasn't discovered until a 2016 audit tipped off the state. Along with increased security, landfill administration has now been reorganized to separate billing from daily operations.
A similar situation occurred in Baltimore, with employees accepting bribes to waive tipping fees, though that lasted for 14 years and cost the city an estimated $6 million. Last summer, an Iowa landfill manager was also arrested for nearly $40,000 in missing funds from an ongoing pallet recycling scheme.
Putting tighter accounting and supervisory practices in place as the parish has done can help prevent potential crimes like this from happening, especially for such long periods of time. While they may be sporadic, these incidents further compound a negative connotation that some members of the public still have about waste management and are not helpful to the industry's image.
- The Daily Star Landfill ex-manager under fire
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