AMITE-- Michael Petitto, 48, of West State Street, Amite, was sentenced to a total of 10 years with the department of corrections for two counts of Malfeasance in Office as a Tangipahoa Parish Council member. The sentence was suspended and Petitto was placed on five years of probation.
--Petitto will not serve jail time, according to Judge Bruce Bennett's sentence on Wednesday, July 18.
--Petitto must also pay court costs and $10,000 in fines within three years in addition to abiding by standard terms of probation, said Perrilloux.
--Petitto may not run for public office in Louisiana without a pardon from the governor, or until 15 years after completing his sentence. He would be in his late 60s at that time.
--Petitto may not vote until he completes the five-year probation and gets a first offender pardon under state law.
Judge Bennett read Petitto's resignation letter in court. It "showed an unwillingness to admit any wrongdoing." Petitto knew about the wrongdoing in the land deal early, the judge said.
The defendant was found guilty in a bench trial before Judge Bennett on April 23, 2012. District Attorney Scott Perrilloux represented the State.
The prosecution alleged that in 2007, Petitto offered, and voted for, a resolution to the parish council in support of tax benefits for a low to moderate income housing project to be developed in Amite.
By passing the resolution, Petitto’s brother Salvatore Petitto was able to make a $197,000 profit on a land deal with Shreveport-based developer Standard Enterprise.
Soon after, Salvatore Petitto paid off Michael Petitto’s mortgage in the amount of $49,207.12.
Perrilloux explained that as a parish councilman, Petitto was not allowed to vote on resolutions that would benefit himself or a family member.
Petitto's Hammond attorneys Ron Macaluso and Garrison Jordan said they would appeal.