A DeSoto Parish grand jury this morning issued four indictments containing four separate felony charges against DeSoto Parish school’s former superintendent.
Two indictments charge Walter Lee, former superintendent of DeSoto Parish Schools and BESE board member, of theft (RS 14:67), one indictment charges public contract fraud (RS 14:140) and one indictment charges malfeasance in office (RS 14:134).
The indictments came after a December 11, 2013 investigative audit conducted by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor found Lee to be in violation of laws governing pubic officers and employees, as well as criminal and constitutional laws.
The audit found that Lee
received and kept reimbursement for travel paid for with his DPSS credit card; turned in a lease car
Turned in a lease car 14 months early, costing the DPSS a $10,653 termination fee and then personally purchased the vehicle for significantly less than its market value
Giving himself pay raises of more than $170,000 without board approval over his 13 years as superintendent of schools.
After the indictments came down late this morning, DeSoto Parish District Attorney Richard Johnson said he takes the charges against Lee are “very seriously, because the public trust has been broken”
He said he expects the warrant for Lee’s arrest should be signed by a district judge by around 1 p.m., at which time it will go to DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Alexander, who will then be responsible for Lee’s arrest.
Just after the indictments were handed down, NBC 6 News spoke with Walter Lee, who was unaware of the indictments. He said, “I can’t believe it’s come to this,” adding he would do whatever his attorney advises when the warrant is served.
RS 14:67: Each conviction of theft of $1,500 or more is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $3,000, or both.
RS 14:134: A conviction of malfeasance in office can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
RS 14:140: A conviction of public contract fraud is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000