A federal judge ruled the bribery case against two St. Landry Parish School Board members will continue despite their attempt to get their charges dismissed. John Miller and Quincy Richard were indicted back in October 2012.
That was after Interim Superintendent Joseph Cassimere worked with federal agents during a sting operation at the Quarters Casino in St. Landry Parish.
The two claimed the federal government has no jurisdiction in their case because the charges and allegations do not directly deal with federal funds.
Judge Richard Haik released the ruling this past week. A board meeting to select the new superintendent is scheduled for this Thursday. Both men have the ability to vote on that.
School Board Members Indicted Update
A federal judge has declared as complex the case involving two St. Landry Parish School Board members charged with conspiracy to extort money in exchange for votes for a new school superintendent.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Hill in Lafayette said the nature of the case makes it "unreasonable to expect adequate preparation" within the time limits established by the Speedy Trial Act. The ruling means the case could take longer than some others.
Board members Quincy Richard Sr. and John Miller were indicted Oct. 24. They were each formally charged in a three-count indictment, including one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of bribery involving federal programs.
They have pleaded not guilty.
School Board Members Indicted Update
Two Saint Landry Parish School Board members were in court Thursday, arraigned on federal charges. Quincy Richard and John Miller are accused of trying to extort $5,000 each for their votes for superintendent.
Both pleaded not guilty. Federal magistrate C. Michael Hill presided over the arraignment. He began by swearing the men in and reading their counts.
Right now both men face one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and two counts of bribery.
Judge Hill stated the maximum penalty for each of the two counts of bribery is 10 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, up to three years of supervised release and a special fine of $100.00.
Both men waved the formal reading of their indictment which occurred October 24th.
School Board Members Indicted Update
What's next for the Saint Landry Parish School Board now that two members are officially indicted on bribery charges?
Quincy Richard and John Miller allegedly took $5,000 from interim Superintendent Joseph Cassimere. Cassimere is a candidate for superintendent but he was also part of an FBI sting to catch the two.
News 10's Caroline Balchunas went to Saint Landry Parish to get some answers about the board's next step.
United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today
that two St. Landry Parish School Board members were indicted by a federal grand jury for
one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of bribery.
School Board Members Indicted
LAFAYETTE, LA:A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment late yesterday afternoon
charging Quincy Richard, Sr., 50, and John Miller, 71, both of Opelousas, La., with one
count of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of bribery.
According to the indictment, Richard and Miller are two of 13 members serving on
the St. Landry Parish School Board (SLPSB). SLPSB is responsible for advertising,
interviewing and selecting by majority vote, the position of Superintendent of St. Landry
Parish Schools. After the individual is selected to be hired as Superintendent, the SLPSB
approves the salary contract of the Superintendent. From on or about mid July 2012 until
September 24, 2012, the defendants conspired together to obtain money for their vote
concerning the position of Superintendent of St. Landry Parish Schools. As a result of the
conspiracy, on September 24, 2012, in return for their vote, Richard and Miller each
accepted $5,000 from a Superintendent candidate who was cooperating with the FBI.
If convicted, both defendants face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy count
and up to 10 years in prison for the bribery count. Both defendants are also subject to a
$250,000 fine on each count.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent
unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alexandria
Resident Agency and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Howard C.
SLP School Board Investigation Update
Saint Landry School Board members would have met Wednesday to narrow down their search for a new superintendent. But, an FBI investigation has put things on hold.
School board members John Miller and Quincy Richard are accused of trying to extort money from interim Superintendent Joseph Cassimere.
The FBI conducted a sting at a truck stop in Opelousas. The men allegedly asked Cassimere for $5,000 each in exchange for their votes during the selection process. Cassimere is a candidate for superintendent.
The long-awaited superintendent selection was scheduled to take place Wednesday. But, instead, it was put on hold.
Wednesday we spoke with members of the Saint Landry Parish School Board to see what they had to say about the recent developments.
News10's Caroline Balchunas has their reactions in the video above.
UPDATE: The special school board meeting previously scheduled for September 26th is now cancelled due to the ongoing FBI investigation.
UPDATE: NEWS 10 confirms the FBI conducted a sting operation involving two St. Landry School Board members, John Miller and Quincy Richard. The two men are accused of asking Joseph Cassimere for $5000 each in exchange for their vote in the superintendent election. The men were not arrested by the FBI but were warned to stay away from Cassimere.
NEWS 10's Caroline Balchunas has spoke with interim St Landry Superintendent, Joseph Cassimere. He says he knows there is an investigation but he "can't talk about anything" right now. Caroline is still working the story and will have more details soon.
Quincy Richard Criminal History
This isn't the first time Saint Landry School Board Member Quincy Richard has landed in trouble with the law. Back in 2004, Richard and his wife were involved in a grade for cash scandal at Southern University.
That incident also happened while Richard was a school board member in St. Landry Parish. Both he and his ex-wife Cynthia pled guilty to buying a fake transcript and degree from Southern University.
It was a scandal that rocked the main campus of Southern University in Baton Rouge. Over 200 students were implicated in purchasing grades during a period of almost ten years from 1995 to 2004.
Amongst the students, two prominent Opelousas residents were found to have been involved as well; Quincy and Cynthia Richard.
At the time Quincy was a member of the St. Landry Parish School Board and Cynthia was, a teacher in the school district.
Both pled guilty to purchasing a fake master's degree in special education, in Cynthia's name for $15,000.
They also received a fake transcript that showed Cynthia had taken classes she actually didn't in order to obtain certification.
Because they were cooperative, a state judge gave them both two years' probation and 100 hours of community service.
The Richards were given the opportunity to have the felony removed from their record which they took.
In a public apology, the couple admitted their involvement brought shame to their family. At the time their son Quincy Junior was actually the star quarterback for Southern.
The ongoing investigation has caused the superintendent search to come to a screeching halt. The vote scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled. We're awaiting to hear what the new timeline will be.
Saint Landry Superintendent Search:
Five candidates have applied for Saint Landry Superintendent coming from different backgrounds in education.
William Duplechain is the current principal at Port Barre High. Edward Brown works in Saint Landry Parish as the supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance. Daniel Rawls, is a retired superintendent from Point Coupee Parish.
Charles Michel is the current supervisor of Special Education in Lafourche Parish. Joseph Cassimere is the current interim superintendent.
The school board has reviewed the applications and started the interview process on September 18th. The board is scheduled to select a superintendent by September 26th and in they should be in office by October.
St Landry report that shows the FBI conducted a sting :
School Board Member Confirms Board Investigation 12:15 PM
UPDATE: NEWS 10 has learned more about the investigation in St. Landry Parish. Sources tell us, two board members are being investigated by the FBI for allegedly trying to sell their votes in the superintendent election. We do have the names of the members and did speak with them. We are not releasing their names at this time but both told us, "no comment." We are continuing to investigate and will update as more details become available.
School Board Member Confirms Board Investigation 12:38 PM
St. Landry Parish (KLFY) - NEWS 10 has learned law enforcement officials are investigating members of the School Board in St. Landry Parish. School Board Member, Raymond Cassimere confirms the investigation but will not go into details.
Another News 10 source close to the investigation tells us it involves the superintendent election and the FBI. The FBI tells NEWS 10 they can neither confirm nor deny the allegations. The two board members we are hearing are at the heart of the investigation told us, "no comment." Both indicated something may be announced at tomorrow's meeting.
The interim superintendent, Joseph Cassimere has not returned our calls but Caroline Balchunas is at his office now trying to get answers.