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'Incumbent' Dangerfield has yet to resign School Board seat

'Incumbent' Dangerfield has yet to resign School Board seat

Author: Action News 17/Thursday, January 1, 2015/Categories: Front Page, Politics

AMITE—Although a state district court judge has forbidden him to take the oath of office, School Board member Eric Dangerfield has not yet presented that resignation to the board or the Secretary of State’s office.

As of New Year’s Day, Dangerfield, 61, of Hammond, is shown on the Secretary of State’s elected official database as the “incumbent” board member for the District G seat, which is located in the Hammond city limits.


His term begins today (Jan. 1, 2015) and runs through Dec. 31, 2018, according to records obtained from the Secretary of State's database.


Board appointee Michael Wells, whose term of service expired at midnight last night along with the remaining members of the former board, is also shown as an "incumbent."

Last month, 19th Judicial District Court Judge Mike Erwin told Dangerfield that despite being elected to the seat, the candidate could not take office because it would be a violation of the sentencing guidelines in his Medicaid fraud conviction from earlier that year.

In May, Dangerfield and his wife Cassandra pleaded guilty to billing more than $18 million in fraudulent Medicaid charges. Although charged on nine combined counts of racketeering, forgery and theft by fraud, and money laundering, Eric Dangerfield ultimately received a four-year suspended sentence on misdemeanor theft and tax evasion charges. He and his wife, who received a 14-year suspended sentence on felony racketeering and tax evasion, were ordered to pay back $3.5 million in restitution, but as of last month, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office reported that they had repaid only about $200 and had yet to forfeit assets, including several luxury cars, their home, and a shopping center.

At that hearing, Erwin told the pair that he will revoke their probation if they have not made a “good faith” effort to come into compliance with their sentences by March. According to published reports, the judge also indicated it was not a question of whether they would be sent to jail but when.

Dangerfield’s attorney told the court in December that his clients may positively “surprise” the judge by complying with his orders.

Erwin expressly noted that Eric Dangerfield’s sentencing agreement prohibited him from being on the School Board. Dangerfield had been forced to resign from his seat in July, although he turned around and qualified for the office again in August.

Despite a two-to-one margin of victory by the electorate, Dangerfield is prohibited from taking that oath of office, Erwin ordered at the Dec. 5 revocation hearing.

As of Dec. 30, the Secretary of State’s office had received nothing in writing from Dangerfield indicating he would resign from his post. Tangipahoa Parish School System officials indicated that they have also been on the lookout, even during their holiday closure, for Dangerfield’s letter of resignation, which as of late Wednesday, they have not received. Meanwhile officials in Baton Rouge are also watching to see if Dangerfield will comply with the judge’s order.

The School Board is scheduled to be sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 6 p.m. at their offices in Amite. If Dangerfield resigns, a resolution could be offered at the board’s first meeting of the year that night and forwarded to state officials to call an election to fill the vacancy his resignation would create.

The board has only until the close of business on Wednesday, Jan. 7, to secure a resignation and file the proper paperwork to call the March 28 special election to fill a vacated District G seat. If Dangerfield's resignation is not received by that time, the earliest a special election could be called to fill an expected vacancy would be the Oct. 24 fall primary election.

Dangerfield must answer to the court mid-March in his next post-sentencing hearing.



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