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At least 2 Opelousas council members subpoenaed to testify before grand jury

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OPELOUSAS -

At least two members of the Opelousas City Council have been subpoenaed to testify next week before a grand jury.

KATC Investigates obtained two subpoena documents showing those council members have been called to appear before a St. Landry Parish grand jury on Oct. 31.

Subpoenas do not explain why individuals have been called to testify. But legal questions have hung over city hall for more than a year.

Initially, questions began swirling around Mayor Reggie Tatum's nearly $13,000 overtime payment in response to the August flood.

Tatum told us his position as mayor was "repurposed" to work at a shelter during the flood, but FEMA's policy says mayors typically are exempt from overtime during emergency events.

Tatum has argued that FEMA said the overtime payments were permissible and would be reimbursed by the federal government. But the city never filed for a reimbursement for those funds, so the city paid the bill.

Earlier this year, the state Legislative Auditor's Office said the payment may have violated law. KATC Investigates also obtained emails between FEMA, the state Attorney General's Office, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security showing a criminal investigation into the payments had been initiated.

Auditors this year also found large sums of money were paid to some attorneys representing the city, but no paper trail existed for the work they performed to receive those payments.

KATC has previously reached out to St. Landry Parish District Attorney Earl Taylor about whether his office was investigating the claims, but he said it's against the office's policy to comment on any matter.

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