LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Gil Dozier, a former Louisiana's Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry whose political career ended with a federal extortion conviction in 1980, has died.
His son's law office in Lafayette confirmed the death Wednesday but did not release the cause. According to his obituary Dozier was 79 years old.
A Democrat, Dozier appeared to have a promising political career ahead of him when he took office as agriculture chief in 1976, having defeated incumbent David Pearce. He was considered a possible candidate for the 1979 governor's race, with term limits preventing the popular incumbent, Edwin Edwards, from seeking a third consecutive term.
But allegations of wrongdoing plagued Dozier's one and only term. In 1980, a federal jury convicted Dozier of trying to extort campaign contributions from dairy processors and other businesses that dealt with the Agriculture and Forestry Department.
Defeated in a 1979 re-election bid by Bob Odom, Dozier was eventually sentenced to 18 years in prison. However he was released in 1986 after a sentence commutation by then-President Ronald Reagan.
Funeral arrangements were pending.