Commissioner fined, resigns

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 30, 2003

By Sue Ellen Ross Staff Reporter

A former Planning and Zoning commissioner was found to be in violation of a state ethics law regarding property she owns in LaPlace.

A $2,500 fine and forced resignation came on the heels of an investigation of a business deal between Minette Montegut and Nextel, a Virginia-based company, this past year.

Montegut was serving on the board when Nextel proposed to build a telecommunications tower on LaPlace property owned by herself and her family. The commission approved the project. According to state ethic laws, this is a conflict of interest.

A public servant (or member of their immediate family) is forbidden from voting on an agenda item in which they have a personal stake.

Appointed board and commission members must resign or avoid any personal business deal they may have to vote on as a member of said board or commission.

When notified of the State Board of Ethics findings, the Planning and Zoning Commission directed Montegut to resign to avoid future infractions or concerns. She also was fined $2500 by the ethics commission.

Montegut’s sons, including Parish Coroner Christy Montegut, were named in the business deal.

Nextel leased the Montegut property for $1,000 per month, and later built their telecommunications tower at Walnut St. And Airline Hwy.

The Louisiana Board of Ethics released their findings Dec. 11, and the fine has been paid in full, according to board attorney Kathleen Allen.