Rollo cited, fined for ethics violations

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 27, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / September 27, 2000

LAPLACE – Vincent Rollo, risk manager for St. John the Baptist Parish andadvisor to the parish on insurance matters, has been found guilty of violating two sections of the Code of Governmental Ethic by the Louisiana Board of Ethics.

Rollo, who has been the parish’s risk manager since 1997, broke the rules when he advised the parish on what insurance it should purchase and then wrote up the policies for the same insurance through Riverlands Insurance Agency Inc., a company that Rollo owns.The Board of Ethics handed down the opinion Sept. 22 that Rollo’s actions violated Section 1112 that states: “No public servant … shall participate in atransaction in which he has a personal substantial economic interest of which he may be reasonably expected to know involving the governmental entity.”By using Riverlands Insurance Agency Inc., Rollo violated Section 1113 thatstates: “No public servant . . . or legal entity in which he has a controllinginterest shall bid on or enter into any contract, subcontract, or other transaction that is under the supervision of jurisdiction of the agency of the public servant.”Rollo’s actions were deemed conflicts of interest in the board’s opinion.

However the board went on to say that “Mr. Rollo did not use his influencewith the St. John the Baptist Parish Council in order to gain an unfairadvantage. . .” Rather, the board felt Rollo’s actions presented a situationwhere a public official would be serving two masters and that presented a potential rather than an actual wrongdoing.

This didn’t mean Rollo got away unscathed. Under the law, Rollo could havebeen fined $10,000 for each violation. The board, however, said Rollo and theRiverlands Insurance Agency were fully cooperative with the board during the investigation so it only fined Rollo $5,000.

Moreover, the Board of Ethics said St. John Parish could continue topurchase insurance from Riverlands Insurance Agency, but if it did, Rollo could no longer be the agent of record for the parish.

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