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Globalplex probe under way

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / June 8, 1998

LAPLACE – The South Louisiana Port Commission’s inability to carry out a proper audit of Bay Star enterprises has resulted in a state investigation into Bay Star’s management of the port’s Globalplex facility.

According to Bay Star owner Marvin Harvey, who was found in violation of his contract and relieved of his management duties in January, he and Port Commissioner E.J. Martin are targets of the investigation being done bystate Inspector General Bill Lynch.

Although several people, including Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Gary LaGrange, have confirmed the investigation and acknowledged seeing a draft report of Lynch’s findings, no one would discuss the report’s specific contents.

Lynch confirmed yesterday a report on the investigation is being prepared, but he said it has yet to reach Gov. Foster’s desk.”We will review all responses. We give everyone an opportunity to havetheir say,” Lynch added.

Lynch could not say when the report would reach Foster and be made public, however he said the matter would not be swept under the rug.

“That won’t happen in this case,” Lynch affirmed.

The Port Commission purchased the old Godchaux-Henderson Sugar Refinery property in Reserve in 1992 and established Globalplex at the site. Bay Star Enterprises became the Globalplex manager in May 1995, andMartin was president of the Port Commission at that time.

After it was discovered in 1997 that no audit of Bay Star had been done since the company assumed daily management of Globalplex, port commissioners hired Ellis-Apple accounting firm of Baton Rouge to carry out the audit, according to LaGrange.

Harvey, however, was allegedly uncooperative with the auditors, which led to his being found in violation of his management contract. He wasdismissed in January 1998 by the Port Commission.

At the Jan. 14, 1998 meeting of the Port Commission, treasurer GregoryLier said Harvey failed to comply with requests by Ellis-Apple for certain documents necessary for the audit.

Harvey, now running a charter-boat business in Grand Isle, responded, “It’s political! It’s all political!” He blamed the matter on former port executive director Richard Clements, who is retired and living in Florida. “When he left he was mad at me, hewas mad at everybody,” Harvey said.

“I know what the truth is,” he continued. “I’ve cooperated every way in theworld with them.” In fact, Harvey said, allegations he was uncooperative are “the furthest thing from the truth.”Harvey said he’s been advised not to comment on specifics of the Inspector General’s report.

Martin, too, declined comment on the matter, citing the advise of his attorneys.

Brandt Dufrene, president of the Port Commission, said he was also advised not to make any comments on the matter. He added only that whenthe report is made public by the Inspector General’s office, a press conference would be called and the entire matter would be laid before the public.

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