Judge suspends Ladner civil case

Published 1:40 pm Friday, April 29, 2011

A federal judge has suspended a civil forfeiture case against former Hancock County Road Manager Roger Ladner and his wife Sharon, until the government completes a related criminal investigation.

U.S. District Judge John Roper signed the order Tuesday. Roper said he agreed that the continuation of discovery in the civil case could hinder the government’s criminal investigation.

Attorneys for the Ladners and the government had asked for the stay, after Ladner filed a claim to more than $1.3 million the government seized from him last year.

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The government said in previous court filings that it had reason to believe Ladner obtained the money illegally through kick-backs from ditch contracts he awarded after Hurricane Katrina.

Ladner’s attorneys said the money was all obtained legally.