Are you keeping your New Year's resolutions?|
Story Archives: Land profit trial reset
|Land profit trial reset|
Trial for Fifth District Attorney and two businessmen in an alleged land profit deal had been reset until next year.
Other pending trials and a review of similar legal charges in the U. S. Supreme Court were listed as reasons for changing the trial from the Scheduled Jan. 11 to April 12.
Fifth District DA, Billy Coenen and engineer Terry Denmon of Monroe and Delhi businessman Mike Thompson are each charged with conspiracy and mail fraud involving land deals at Poverty Point Reservoir in Richland Parish.
Mike Small of Alexandria, legal representative for the three charged men, said last week, the postponement was arranged through agreement with the U. S. Attorney's Office.
Small said motions have been filed asking for dismissal of charges because the charges are alleged violations of state ethics laws and should not be used as basis for federal charges of mail fraud.
He added that the Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on a case from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where similar charges are at issue. There in no set timetable for that hearing or decision.
"If the Supreme Court rules as we hope, ti would result in the dismissal of the case," Small said.
Another of Small's high profile cases, the tax evasion charges against former Monroe State Senator Charles Jones, will take place on Jan. 11 in substitute for the Poverty Point-related trial.
The three charged man pled innocent August 8, 2007 to charges of conspiracy and mail fraud following their federal grand jury indictment in Shreveport. They were charged with secretly purchasing land along the future banks of Poverty Point Reservoir and selling the land at substantial profit.
The charges are one count of conspiracy and eight counts of mail fraud.
The indictment alleges the three bought a tract of five acres for $16,000 while hiding their interest. Later subdivided, parts of the acreage were sold for a total of $250,000.
Thompson was executive director of the reservoir district, Denmon the lake project engineer and Coenen the attorney for the lake district.