Agenda Item
Docket No. 24-198
Advisory opinion request regarding a Natchitoches Parish Council Member purchasing adjudicated property from the Parish through public auction.
Mark Kerry is an elected member of the Natchitoches Parish Council. He owns a 34-acre tract of raw, unimproved land in Natchitoches Parish. Adjacent to his land is a one-acre piece of land with a mobile home that went to the Sheriff's auction because the property taxes were not paid for several years. No one purchased the land at the Sheriff's sale, so the land was transferred to a contractor that manages adjudicated property for the parish. Mr. Kerry states that the adjudicated property in question is an eyesore as it has debris and salvaged items from local dumps piled in the front yard. Mr. Kerry inquired about the property and the parish contractor stated that another adjacent landowner is also wanting to buy the property. Therefore, the contractor would sell the property through auction for the parish.
La. R.S. 42:1113A(1)(a) states no public servant…or member of such a public servant's immediate family, or legal entity in which he has a controlling interest shall bid on or enter into any contract, subcontract, or other transaction that is under the supervision or jurisdiction of the agency of such public servant.

La. R.S. 42:1102(19) defines "public servant" means a public employee or an elected official.

La. R.S. 42:1102(9) defines "elected official" to mean any person holding an office in a governmental entity which is filled by the vote of the appropriate electorate. It shall also include any person appointed to fill a vacancy in such offices.

La. R.S. 42:1102(8) defines "controlling interest" to mean any ownership in any legal entity or beneficial interest in a trust, held by or on behalf of an individual or a member of his immediate family, either individually or collectively, which exceeds twenty-five percent of that legal entity.

La. R.S. 42:1102(2)(a)(vi) defines "agency" for public servants of political subdivisions to mean the agency in which the public servant serves, except that for members of any governing authority and for the elected or appointed chief executive of a governmental entity, it shall mean the governmental entity. Public servants of political subdivisions shall include, but shall not be limited to, elected officials and public employees of municipalities, parishes, and other political subdivisions; sheriffs and their employees; district attorneys and their employees; coroners and their employees; and clerks of court and their employees.

La. R.S. 42:1102(12) defines "governmental entity" to mean the state or any political subdivision which employs the public employee or employed the former public employee or to which the elected official is elected, as the case may be.

Adopt the proposed advisory opinion.
Assigned Attorney: Jessica Meiners
2024-198 - AO
2024-198 - Advisory Opinion Draft - Kerry