After an anonymous letter claiming the St. Martinville’s chief of police had a fraudulent GED on file with the city, the special city council voted to open an investigation during their meeting on Dec. 3.
Photo by Heidi Thevis
At a special city council meeting in St. Martinville on Dec. 3, a councilman began the discussion of an anonymous claim that the city’s chief of police has a fraudulent GED on file with the city.
Councilman Mike Fuselier said he received a packet with no return address. Inside the packet was a letter that was not signed.
“Please be advised in the discovery that the current chief of police in the city of St. Martinville has forged and altered state documents, which is illegal, unbecoming, unethical and immoral of a public servant,” Fuselier said of the writer in the anonymous letter.
Fuselier said the writer ended the letter with, “Please allow this letter and the enclosed documents to show proof that a Louisiana chief of police lacks honesty, integrity and morals. Richard Martin willfully, intentionally and with malice forged, altered and faked a high school GED.”
The additional documents mentioned were a copy of the city’s law and a copy of Martin’s diploma that was said to be fraudulent.
Fuselier said he was shocked when he received the letter, which was dated Nov. 21, and he did some research.
“In 1995, this is what GEDs looked like,” he said. “So this information is not only wrong, but it’s very defaming.”
The members of the council received the packet, as did the members of the St. Martinville civil service board. Councilman Craig Prosper said he hasn’t opened his packet, but he hopes they’ll be able to get some DNA off of it.
“Our police department is so important to the safety of the kids and the elderly and the citizens of St. Martinville that we are wasting their time with fraudulent information like this,” Prosper said.
Martin said the GED is not his concern because he knows it’s legitimate. He said his problem is finding out how his personnel file got taken out of city hall and released to the public. According to Officer Adam Touchet, the public information officer of St. Martinville, the only two people who have access to the file is Mayor Melinda Mitchell and Avis Gutekunst, the city’s chief administrative officer. Gutekunst said she has no files at this time at city hall for Martin.
“In fact, there are several personnel files missing out of the office from what I can tell,” Gutekunst said.
Martin said people in the city, people at city hall and their family members are making comments about the situation, and he’s not going to tolerate it.
“They’re doing this over political bullcrap over some electrical lines that I have nothing to do with,” Martin said. “Just because I refuse to file charges on somebody, and now they’re going to retaliate on me.”
Mitchell said she spoke with the school’s superintendent, and he said Martin requested his transcript.
“He did get the confirmation, and [the transcripts] will be coming in the mail,” Mitchell said.
The city council voted to investigate the situation to see who made the anonymous accusation.
“I really believe we’ll find out who did this, and I want to prosecute them because it’s defamation of character against a man who’s served his whole life, and I’d like to get to the bottom of it,” Fuselier said.