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Oct 11, 2010 9:56 PM by Alison Haynes

BR tech chief resigns amid kickback probe

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Baton Rouge's city-parish technology director has resigned after his name surfaced in a federal probe involving an alleged kickback scheme linked to a crime-camera company.
The Advocate said Mayor-president Kip Holden last week accepted Don Evans' resignation, which is effective Oct. 31. In the meantime, Evans has been placed on leave effective immediately, Holden said in a news release.
Federal prosecutors in New Orleans allege Evans and the city-parish technology director in Lafayette accepted bribes to award millions of dollars of no-bid business to a crime-camera company whose owner is under felony indictment.
Neither Evans nor former Lafayette city-parish Chief Information Officer Keith Thibodeaux, who was fired last Wednesday, is charged in the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew S. Chester in New Orleans is asking court permission to include evidence of the alleged bribes during the January bribery and kickback trial of Mark St. Pierre, 47, of Belle Chasse, and two New Orleans defendants.
More than $100,000 in improper benefits were received by the municipal officials in Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Chester wrote U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon.
Chester told the judge Evans allegedly steered crime-camera work to Pierre's company, NetMethods, after receiving gifts that included "tickets to approximately four New Orleans Saints football games; a 50th birthday party extravaganza and overnight trips at various hotels in New Orleans."
NetMethods later was awarded about $3.5 million from the city-parish to establish a wireless network of surveillance cameras and a gunshot detection system in high crime areas in Baton Rouge.

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