Former Opelousas mayor Reggie Tatum has been sentenced to two years probation.
Tatum was convicted in September on 10 felony charges in a case over improper payments he received while he was in office for work at a city-operated storm shelter.
The state district judge had originally sentenced him to 2 years in prison per charge, but suspended that and instead sentenced Tatum to probation. The former mayor will also have to do 34 hours of community service.
During the hearing, the judge said one of the reasons why he didn’t go with a tougher sentence was because hard labor would be a hardship on Tatum’s family, especially his mother.
News 10 spoke to Tatum after the hearing. He said he agreed with the judge’s comment, “It actually would be a hardship on my family because I take care of my mom, my fiancée, and everyone. And also I take care of a lot of members of the community. They come to me for food and help with their rent and things like that. And I’ll continue to do that for the people in the community that need help.”
Tatum testified in his trial that he eventually repaid the city paid for the overtime in order to make the issue go away. Tatum said he believed he did nothing wrong by accepting overtime for his shelter work.
The former mayor and his attorney said they do not agree with the verdict, therefore they plan to appeal the case; however, Tatum said he respects the judge’s ruling and sentencing.
Tatum, who served as mayor from 2014 to 2018 before losing a bid for re-election, was originally charged in a 15-count indictment for malfeasance in office, injuring public records, filing or maintaining false public records, felony theft, and forgery.