Ark-La-Tex mayor pleads guilty to felony

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 7:42pm

Odell Key, mayor of the town of Gibsland, has been convicted of malfeasance in office, prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office announced.

Key, 73, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of malfeasance in office in front of 2nd Judicial District Judge Glenn Fallin. Sentencing is scheduled for May 9. Additionally, Key submitted a letter to the Gibsland town council on February 22 announcing his resignation as mayor.

Criminal Division Director Kurt Wall, who prosecuted the case for the Attorney General’s Office said, “This felony conviction accomplishes two important goals. We are holding the defendant accountable for his criminal conduct, and we are ensuring his removal from office so that the citizens of Gibsland can move forward.” Added Wall, “We are greatly appreciative for the efforts of Sheriff John Balance and the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office. They did an excellent job of investigating this case.”

In May 2013, a state legislative audit found that Gibsland financial records were missing and that the town owed $80,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. While a criminal investigation was ongoing, the Attorney General’s Office assisted in the appointment of a fiscal administrator who began working in November towards getting the town’s finances in order. Key was later arrested in December for malfeasance in office.


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