Former Elizabeth Mayor Robert Crafton falsified documents about a town meeting that never took place in order to hide a $2,724 gift from the Public Energy Authority of Kentucky, according to the Louisiana state auditor.
In a report released this week, Louisiana State Auditor Daryl G. Purpera said the fabricated meeting minutes suggest Crafton, while mayor, refused to accept any money from the authority, citing legal and ethical reasons for declining the gift.
In fact, the auditor claims, Crafton took the money and put it in his personal bank account one month later, Purpera said.
By making these remarks, Crafton committed a second act of dishonesty, the audit said.
Crafton defended his actions in an interview Wednesday with Louisiana Watchdog, saying not enough people in town cared enough to attend board meetings and he couldn’t get enough board members to meet all at once.
“I knew it wasn’t according to the state law, in that it has to be an open meeting for the public,” Crafton said.
“If you can’t get people to come then what are you going to do? If you can’t get a quorum then what are you going to do? What options did I have?”
Crafton said he repaid the $2,724 after meeting with state auditors.
“Until they mentioned it I hadn’t given it any thought,” Crafton said.