City Marshal Brian Pope has asked the Louisiana Board of Ethics to waive a $2,500 late fee levied against him for filing an amended personal financial disclosure form nearly two years late.
The form, known as a Tier 2 Personal Financial Disclosure Report, was supposed to have been filed with Ethics on Aug. 27, 2014 ahead of the Nov. 4, 2014 primary election. Pope was running for his current job of city marshal, a position he would win in a Dec. 6 runoff.
According to the Ethics Board, Pope was sent a notice of delinquency on Jan. 2, 2015 but didn’t actually file the report until May 12 of this year — 624 days after its original due date.
In April, Pope contacted the board to request a waiver of the fine, which is the maximum allowable by law, arguing that “it appears that only the calendar years are the only error and provided information within both reports are accurate for 2013 and 2014.”
According to documents associated with the case, board attorney Tracy Barker is recommending the fine be waived “based on future compliance with the disclosure requirements under the Code of Ethics.”
The board meets Thursday to consider the waiver request.
The late fee levied against Pope is chump change compared to the fee he’s facing from District Judge Jules Edwards in Pope’s ongoing legal battle with this newspaper. On March 24, Edwards imposed on Pope roughly $100,000 in attorney’s fees (for The Independent’s legal counsel) and penalties for failing to provide documents in this newspaper’s ongoing public records dispute with the marshal. Edwards also ordered Pope to serve a week of house arrest and 173 hours of community service.
Pope appealed and on June 21 the Third Circuit Court of Appeal rejected his appeal. We should find out within the next week whether the Louisiana Supreme Court agrees to take the case. If the justices decline to hear Pope’s appeal — already rejected by the Third Circuit — then Edwards’ judgment against him will become immediately effective.