St. Joseph Slammed with Gas Line Lawsuits

ST. JOSEPH (KTVE 10 News) -- The Town of St. Joseph lands in legal trouble from the state and its closest neighbor.

St. Joseph and the neighboring Town of Newellton were sued April 2nd by the Locust Ridge Gas Company.

According to the lawsuit obtained by KTVE/KARD, Locust Ridge has been providing the gas running through the Joint Line gas line between both towns for more than 10 years.

The lawsuit claims the towns owe them more than $122,000 in payments.

A new long-term contract was being negotiated last November, according to the lawsuit. The contract was approved by Newellton, but not by St. Joseph.

Locust Ridge is suing to get that money back and find out the status of the contract.

But just a week ago, St. Joseph was slammed again, this time with a lawsuit from Newellton.

This lawsuit claims St. Joseph has mishandled their control of the Joint Line so much over the last three years, they've nearly cost both towns their gas during sub-freezing temperatures.

Newellton's suing to take control of the Joint Line.

The St. Joseph mayor, Edward Brown, and the manager of Locust Ridge declined interviews.

The Newellton mayor never returned our calls.

On top of all that, state auditors placed St. Joseph on the Non-Compliance List for not filing their audit from last June.

"They did not file their June 30th, 2013 audit report," said Assistant Legislative Auditor Joy Irwin. "They are now four months late getting that report to us."

Irwin said all state funding awarded to the town could now become suspect.

"The State of Louisiana, when they disperse funds, they check the website and they check that list to see if any people that they're about to send money to are on the list," she said. "If they're on the list, they hold the funds."

With Governor Bobby Jindal awarding the town $6 million for water system improvements last November, the risk is high for St. Joseph.

Irwin said St. Joseph must complete its audit of the Joint Line before it can complete the audit for the entire town.

For now, St. Joseph Mayor Edward Brown isn't interviewing. 
His office said he will address the town and the press on some day in May.

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