However, the resilient and inspirational former parish council member miraculously defied the odds and managed to stave off indictment for more than twice as long. It’s a story from which countless other aspiring shady politicians with more ambition than intelligence can draw hope.
Matassa and Gonzales businessman (and part-time rug salesman) Olin Berthelot were unanimously indicted last week by an 11-person grand jury in an attempted bribery scheme in which they allegedly tried to persuade a parish council candidate to drop out of the race last fall.
Thanks in part to recorded conversations and testimony from multiple witnesses, the pair face up to two years in jail for reportedly offering A. Wayne Lawson hundreds of dollars in cash, a much-needed job working for the parish, and support for his future run for council in 2020. This all was allegedly offered to the reportedly cash-strapped Lawson in July in exchange for him bowing out of a race he most likely had no shot of winning against incumbent Councilman Neal Bourque.
In the face of calls for his resignation as parish president, Matassa continues to set the example for others like him to persevere despite being inescapably destined for an unmitigated downfall.
Matassa and Berthelot were released on $5,000 bond after turning themselves in last week. In the face of calls for his resignation as parish president, Matassa continues to set the example for others like him to persevere despite being inescapably destined for an unmitigated downfall.
Meanwhile, for natives of the quaintly corrupt little hamlet who elected someone with such a remarkable ability to fend off an inevitable indictment as long as he did, it’s also strangely comforting, in much the same way Atlanta Falcons fans know their team managed to lead Super Bowl LI by 19 points after three entire quarters before being exposed for the frauds that they are.