Grand jury indicts Waterproof mayor on 44 charges

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 14, 2009

ST. JOSEPH — A Tensas Parish grand jury handed down indictments against the mayor and police chief of Waterproof this week.

The indictments against Mayor Bobby Higginbotham and Police Chief Miles Jenkins were filed Thursday.

Higginbotham faces 44 total charges, including 18 counts of malfeasance in office, 21 counts of felony theft, one count of unauthorized use of a moveable and four counts of public salary deduction.

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Jenkins faces three counts of malfeasance in office.

The malfeasance allegations against Higginbotham include claims that he told Waterproof employees to purchase goods from a business he or immediate family members had a significant stake in and that he used more than $3,000 in town funds for trips to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, and San Francisco.

He is also accused of improperly converting, depositing and using more than $32,000 from the town’s Meter Deposit Fund.

A number of the malfeasance charges allege he improperly handled traffic tickets, failed to conduct a state-mandated town court and paid illegal bonuses to police officers for exceeding illegal ticket quotas.

Higginbotham also allegedly used the town payroll system to collect personal loans made to town employees, and is accused of using town equipment to maintain private property.

The felony theft charges stem from allegations that he fraudulently increased his salary without approval of the town’s aldermen, collecting an additional $36,500 between July 2007 and February 2009.

One of the counts of malfeasance against Jenkins alleges that he illegally reduced citations, something the police chief does not have the power to do.

The other two counts of malfeasance include a charge that he accepted illegal bonuses.