Guillory says Lofton broke rules

Published 10:06 am Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Port Arthur Independent School Trustee Joseph Guillory II is accusing Board President Kenneth Lofton, Sr. of using his position on the board to profit from PAISD facilities when using them as venues for his basketball league. The basketball league is not sponsored by the school district.

“(Lofton) has used the power of his office to secure the use of PAISD facilities without paying the customary fees for the use of such facilities,” Guillory said in a letter he penned to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office.

Guillory accused Lofton of collecting fees including enrollment and entrance fees and selling concessions. Guillory alleges that Lofton does not pay the school or the referees who were hired to call such games.

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“Any use of school property must be accompanied by a written requisition approved by the facility principal and then Administration office,” Guillory said in the letter. “PAISD policy strictly prohibits the use of any such district property for personal or commercial profits, gain or advertisement of any nature.”

In addition, Guillory said he doubts Lofton has insurance, as is required.

Gullory said law enforcement agencies have told him they will look into the matter.

In a follow-up, Guillory said that it had been brought to his attention last month by a concerned citizen and that he had been inquiring as soon as he had found out. According to him, Lofton has been doing this for the past eight years.

“This guy is trying to make a profit off of the district and the kids,” he said. “Mr. Lofton’s sole intention was to make a profit. I don’t see it any other way.”

In discussing the allegation, fellow board trustee, Dr. Thomas Kinlaw III, said that public officials should not use taxpayer money for personal gain or personal use.

“If you’ve been doing something wrong for so long, you have to correct that behavior,” Kinlaw said. “That’s something he has to make sure the taxpayers and superintendent are aware of, to make sure these things don’t happen.”

Guillory and Kinlaw both brought up the matter to PAISD Superintendent Mark Porterie at the last school board meeting in January during closed session. Guillory said his concerns were brushed aside and other trustees accused him of being petty.

Both Porterie and Lofton declined to comment.