Slidell processor has history of records charges
The owner of a Slidell seafood processing company who was arrested in Baton Rouge on felony charges of failing to report purchases of thousands of pounds of seafood was charged with similar misdemeanors earlier this year in St. Tammany Parish, court records show. Gary Michael Bauer, owner of Pontchartrain Blue Crab, is now facing 18 counts of filing false public records and 18 counts of injuring public records, according to the Wildlife and Fisheries Department.
In February, Bauer was charged with three misdemeanor counts of failing to maintain records in St. Tammany Parish. He pleaded not guilty in February. Wildlife and Fisheries Capt. Cliff Comeaux said those charges are related to the false public records charges.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said an investigation of Pontchartrain Blue Crab's purchase records showed Bauer did not report that the company bought 170,215 pounds of blue crab, 104,489 pounds of shrimp, 8,564 soft shell crabs, 2,122 pounds of sheepshead, five pounds of flounder and 113 pounds of black drum from commercial fishers between January 2010 and July 2011.
Bauer could face up to five years with or without hard labor or up to a $5,000 fine on each felony count.
Bauer's Baton Rouge-based attorney, Frank Holthaus, said Tuesday that he is launching his own investigation into the Wildlife and Fisheries Department's claims against his client.
Holthaus said Bauer has 100 employees who work 24/7, and that the state is blaming him because he is in charge. Plus, he said, he doesn't know if the state's claims are true.
Holthaus said he normally would not comment publicly about cases, but the state is making this a "media event."