Campti Mayor seat could be vacant

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This photo was taken Wednesday, Jan. 16 of the house at 3365 Hwy 480, Campti.

By Juanice Gray, jgray@natchitochestimes.com

Mayoral problems continue in Natchitoches Parish.

New Campti Mayor Mozella Jeanetter Bell is the subject of a Written Opinion by District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington. Harrington’s office received two complaints from registered voters in the Town of Campti stating Bell did not reside in the town. State statute requires the mayor reside within the city limits and shall continue to actually reside there.

The complaints stated Bell did not live in Campti for one year prior to the election and the two addresses provided for her were both outside city limits.

This home at 201 Ruby St. is located within the limits of the Town of Coushatta. It is owned by John Bell.

One, 201 Ruby St., is actually within the limits of the Town of Coushatta in Red River Parish. The Times contacted the Red River Parish Tax Assessor’s office and learned the home at that address is owned by John Bell.

The second address, 3365 Hwy 480, Campti, which she used on her Notice of Candidacy Qualifying Form, is approximately 400 feet west of the town limits. That property, according to the Natchitoches Parish Tax Assessor’s Office, belongs to Mose Farley and others.

Harrington’s statement also said the house at the Hwy 480 location “appears to be abandoned with windows covered by sheets of plywood and, further appears uninhabited and incapable of habitation.”

Bell used this address on her vehicle registration. She also admitted she did not reside in the Town of Campti, but “20 feet outside the town limits” in the presence of First Assistant DA Cloyd Benjamin Jr.

Furthermore, Bell is registered to vote in the Village of Clarence and cast her ballot there in the Nov. 6 election, not in Campti.

Harrington’s opinion concludes with, “Therefore, it is my opinion that Mozella Jeanetter Bell does not qualify to hold office of Mayor of the Town of Campti.” In accordance with La. Revised statute 18:674, Harrington will file suit in the 10th Judicial District Court within 10 days of this report, which appears in its entirety in the legals section of this edition, to declare the Office of Mayor in the Town of Campti vacant.

The position will be filled as provided by law.

Bell defeated incumbent Roland Smith in the November election.