FRENCH SETTLEMENT -- The French Settlement Police Chief goes to trial Sept. 12, one day after his wife has her day in court on a separate charge.
The charge of malfeasance against longtime chief Harry S. Brignac goes before a judge and jury in 21st Judicial District Court.
Sept. 11, Brignac's wife Tammy stands trial for allegedly driving while intoxicated and driving with a suspended drivers license.
Harry Brignac, 71, was arrested for alleged misuse of a municipal fleet fuel card for a personal vehicle July 12. Other charges included injuring public documents and a misdemeanor count of theft, but he will only go to trial on the malfeasance charge, a felony under state law.
His arrest stemmed from a 24-gallon fuel purchase – at a total cost of $60.00 -- Brignac made May 15 at a convenience store on La. 16 near French Settlement.
A video surveillance camera captured the unauthorized purchase, which Brignac made while wearing his police uniform, he said.
A routine check of monthly fuel use by the police department noted discrepancies.
His wife cited a "mix-up" for the use of the municipal card. She has a card identical to the village's fleet fuel card.
Brignac was first elected police chief in 1984. He served continuously until 2016, when the Louisiana Board of Ethics forced him to step down from his post because he failed to file financial disclosure reports three consecutive years.
He paid the fines and regained his seat by a 17-vote margin over his opponent in a special election in spring 2017.
Tammy Brignac, 50, was arrested in early hours of Feb. 18 on La. 16 near La. 444 in French Settlement. She was released five hours later on a bond of $1,514.
She said after the arrest her husband ran her license, which did not show a suspension. Tammy Brignac also denied the speeding citation.
A Port Vincent police officer made the initial stop, while patrol units from the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office and the Louisiana State Police showed up shortly thereafter.
She said after the arrest she did not deny the DWI charge but "blew very little."
The Office of the Attorney General rendered an opinion in May that Tammy Brignac could not drive a police unit. The Board of Aldermen sought the AG opinion after she drove the unit in the village's Christmas parade and accused her of driving it on several other occasions, although she is not covered on the municipal liability insurance policy and no license was on fiel.
Tammy Brignac has accused the village -- most notably Mayor Toni Guitrau -- of targeting her and her husband.
Guitrau and the police chief have been at odds for several years.
In late August, she and French Settlement resident Catherine Moran began a move to recall Guitrau. The petition remains in circulation.