Body of Evidence

Number 26103
Subject Corruption
Source WVUE-TV (New Orleans)
State La.
Year 2013
Publication Date Dec. 22, 2013
Summary “Body of Evidence” unveils a complex system of corruption and abuse tucked away in an affluent New Orleans suburb. Until Lee Zurik and WVUE started digging, it was virtually unknown that the coroner of St. Tammany Parish (County), a bedroom community north of the city, was the highest paid elected official in the state, making as much as Vice President Joe Biden. “Body of Evidence” went on to peel back layer upon layer of questionable spending, taxpayer waste, and eventually illegal activities. WVUE’s findings included lavish meals charged on a public credit card and hundreds of thousands in raises for the coroner and top staff members after convincing the public to vote for a tax to increase his budget. But that was just the beginning. Zurik eventually discovered Galvan was cashing in tens of thousands dollars in supposed unused sick and vacation time all while jet-setting around the globe. Within weeks “Body of Evidence” sparked an unprecedented recall effort. Within three months, he then had a lucrative contract cancelled, and the FBI opened its own investigation. By the five month mark, state law was changed and stripped the coroner’s power over his own budget. At month eight, the coroner resigned and pleaded guilty in federal court.
Category IRE Contest Entry
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Keywords corruption; taxes
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