Covering Louisiana

Mar 3, 2014 1:56 PM by AP

St. Bernard civic center director suspended

CHALMETTE, La. (AP) - The director of St. Bernard Parish's civic center, Stephanie Bachemin, has been suspended pending a review of the center's finances by the state legislative auditor's office.

Parish President Dave Peralta and Councilman Richie Lewis confirmed the suspension Friday.

Nola.com/The Times-Picayune reports Peralta hired Bachemin as the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center's executive director when he took office in January 2012. But both Peralta and Lewis, who often sits in on the center's board meeting, said they had grown concerned about the center's finances.

"This may be nothing more than a bookkeeping problem, I just don't know," Peralta said. "That is why I am calling in an independent source to conduct an investigation of the center."

Lewis said that in the next few weeks there will be "more information on how the civic center controls its money."

Bachemin could not be reached for comment.

Peralta said Bachemin's suspension will not affect the center, which is managed by a nonprofit corporation, St. Bernard Cultural Center, Inc.

"There will be no disruption of its services," he said, adding that the board will oversee the center's day-to-day operations until the audit is completed.

He said the board will oversee the center's day-to-day operations until the audit is completed.

The center, which includes a 52,400-square-foot auditorium with a stage and a 9,280-square-foot ballroom, is rented out for events and together can accommodate about 3,000 guests.

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