St. Tammany coroner to resign, ongoing accusations of corruption

St. Tammany coroner to resign, ongoing accusations of corruption
Photo provided by WDSU.
Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Friday, October 11, 2013 - 12:56pm

UPDATED: Friday, October 11, 2013 - 3:10pm

As was released by the United States Attorney’s office earlier today, Peter Galvan will resign as the St. Tammany Parish Coroner effective Friday, October 18, 2013.

“Today, we are glad that justice will be served, and the situation brought on by Dr. Galvan will be corrected,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We have worked for months cooperating with the authorities to provide them the information they need to arrive at this decision. This administration and the Parish Council are eager to move forward with financial oversight of a new Coroner’s Office, a coroner’s office that the citizens of this Parish deserve.”

Galvin, 54, was charged today in a bill of information with conspiring with two other individuals to steal money from the St. Tammany Coroner’s Office, announced U. S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr.

The bill of information charges that as an elected official, Galvin did not earn annual or sick leave. However, with the assistance of another coroner’s office employee, Galvin received yearly payments for unused annual and sick leave, totaling $111,376 over a five year period.

Galvin, as a physician, individually contracted with the City of Slidell, Louisiana to provide medical services for inmates of the Slidell City Jail. The contract was not with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office, but with Galvin personally. However, Galvin conspired with another individual employed with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office to service this contract while the other individual was supposed to be working for and was being paid by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office. The Bill of Information charges that the Coroner’s Office employee was paid at least $50,000 in public funds to fulfill Galvin’s personal contract.

Additionally, Galvin conspired with an employee of the coroner’s office to purchase a $9,170 generator for GALVAN’s personal vessel, a life raft and life jackets for his personal vessel valued at $4,841, and a Global Positioning Satellite for his personal use valued at $2,395, all with St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office funds.

Finally, the Bill of Information alleges that Galvin used his St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office credit card to make purchases of meals and other personal items with his public credit card totaling $15,606 which were unrelated to the office’s business.

If he is convicted, Galvin faces a statutory maximum of five years in jail, a $250,000 fine and restitution.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr. reiterated that a Bill of Information is simply an allegation and that Dr. GALVAN is presumed to be innocent and he noted the investigation of the operation and personnel employed by the St. Tammany Coroner’s Office is continuing.

Parish Government and the Council have recently assumed greater oversight of the financials of the Coroner’s office as a direct response to legislation that was passed in the last session to reverse a 2007 law that allowed the Coroner to oversee his own finances.

“I have consistently said that government should work with efficiency and effectiveness, and there is no place for a public servant that goes down the road of abuse and squander,” said Brister.

Click here for more information from NBC affiliate WDSU.

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