Bay City Council votes 7-0 to request DOJ OIG Investigation of City Drug Asset Forfeiture Funds

The City of Bay St Louis has been out of the news cycle here at Slabbed for a few months now but here in the dog days of August last night’s meet produced big news on a couple of fronts the main one being this morning’s City Council meeting headline. There has been chatter about the Drug Asset Forfeiture Funds since the last meeting and it was clear from Chief Denardo’s remarks last night regarding the Bay Police Department’s inability to access the funding source to make undercover drug buys there was a problem in finance. The council request asks for a review of the forfeiture accounts from 2008 forward.

Additionally Slabbed has learned this morning from a source with knowledge of City Hall operations requesting anonymity that Mississippi State Auditor’s office investigators have visited City Hall this morning requesting a meeting with Mayor Fillingame, Chief Denardo and City Clerk Smith regarding problems in the Forfeiture Funds. State Auditor’s Office Investigator Susan Syerson was in attendance at last night’s meeting.

Additionally Councilman Lonnie Falgout questioned the amount of cash currently shown on the City’s financial statements for the 2014 Refunding Bond Debt Service Fund indicating his calculations show a shortage of close to $100,000 in the fund. Mayor Fillingame promised to present a reconciliation of the cash in that fund at the next scheduled council meeting.

Finally, what started out as a dust up over how much Bond Vig would be due City Attorney Donald Rafferty turned into a bidding war between Butler Snow and Jones Walker with both firms submitting Bond Counsel proposals at a significantly discounted rate. After Jones Walker’s Trent Favre made his firm’s sales pitch offering to handle the issue for $25,000 (62.5 basis points) total, Butler Snow’s Heather Ladner presented a price of $22,000 (55 basis points) to handle the $4,000,000 proposed bond issue and a public bidding war almost ensued before the Council resolved to advertise RFPs for Bond Counsel with the winning firm selected at the September 8, 2015 council meeting. If you’re with one of the larger local law firms and are interested I’d contact City Attorney Rafferty for details.

Finally last night’s Slabbed New Media debut on Periscope with video clips of the council meeting was a mixed bag due to the bad room acoustics. I’ll see what I can do to improve things for next time.

12 thoughts on “Bay City Council votes 7-0 to request DOJ OIG Investigation of City Drug Asset Forfeiture Funds”

  1. Les always promises to do everything next meeting the next meeting comes and he questions why they dont come to his private office and discuss off the record. He does not feel the public should have any knowledge of his doings.

    Lets see what the DOJ, FBI and the ATF feel about that. My speculation is he will attempt to throw Chief Denardo, David Kolf, Gus McKay, Buz Olsen, Buddy Zimmerman and most everyone else other than his daughter, under the bus. But, she won’t be off limits if it makes him look good.

    He is the Casanova of Main Street and Raff is the Wolf of Main Street!

    they are a Clown to the Left and a Joker to right……..the tax payers are stuck in the middle with the council……as the song goes

  2. This is absolutely the reason people should support Doug and this blog. The result of his coverage is that the taxpayers of BSL are now going to save thousands in legal fees. It should be such in every municipality.

    It’s a rough time for big (medium) law. Let them duke it out on price with the “free market.”

  3. Thank you Council for finally taking a stand to vote to protect the citizens and taxpayers of Bay St. Louis. Maybe it has finally happened and his days are over with his lies and floating money in all of the accounts he controls.

    There used to be a sign in a Bar in Pass Christian “Free Beer Tomorrow” Kind of his saying. Next meeting. Such a joke.

  4. “Les will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” Quote Wimpy on Popeye. Maybe we ought to call him wimpy!

  5. Today was a good day… The only thing that could have gone better for me today would have been to be a fly on the wall at city hall. Wonder what the Bar Association folks are up to.

  6. Lack of institutional control!

    That Les ain’t he something? he was unaware of the Law? Gus McKay made a clerical error on the 20k that was taken from the harbor fund for insurance that the harbor does not accrue. A purchase order is not really a purchase order( he smoked but didn’t inhale). He didn’t know city employees were working the last 2 festivals with city equipment while moonlighting! (he was a dignitary at both events and did it to give a favor and be important hell Wendy is the queen n les was arrested….hope he doesn’t experience that again)! He was unaware that businesses were using the tax payers funded dumpsters and not covering cost. Immediately when true cost was applied he lost all but one business! He feels incompetence is an excuse. Etc, etc, etc!

    Need I continue the pattern?

    He is counterfeit! I just saw some $3 bills that resembled him…..

  7. Couldn’t happen to a better bunch. Let’s just hope some of this has some sticking power. Wouldn’t want Stacy, our fearless auditor, fining a clerk for $200 over this entire farce and not getting to the bottom of the never ending Les charade.

    There is hope. There is hope. There is hope that someday, somebody will be held responsible for the egregious handling of the taxpayers money over the past few years.

    1. I wish I could agree with you on Mr. Pickering but people down here have been screaming at the top of their lungs for his office to reign in this out of control municipality for well over a year. It took the City Council passing a resolution asking for the US Department of Justice’s help before Pickering took what was happening down here seriously.

  8. Let’s hope the DOJ and ATF are smarter than Les thinks and finds where the City has been negligent in the accounting department.
    It is finally time for justice in our city and to make Les accountable for his fraudulent actions in place all these years with the taxpayers money. Enough is enough.

    1. I don’t know about ATF but the DoJ ppl are not idiots as a general rule. I read Wes Muller’s well written story and it appears Hizzoner is excuse making.

      The benefit to not having a yes man for counsel is you don’t have to worry about this kind of stuff years down the road. The shame is a Mississippi local government has a lot of latitude in how the statutory mission is accomplished but style points count.

      It was actually Lana that jogged my memory about municipal budgeting earlier, in particular the statutory requirements that make it unique among Mississippi governments that dropped the final piece in the puzzle for me. I’ll save that for “Trolley” because Muller’s story merits a dedicated post.

  9. My goodness mismanagement,misuse and just damn giveaways of the peoples money appears to be on steroids from city hall in Bay St. Louis to the Board of Supervisors offices in Jackson County. Thank god Biloxi has stabilized. Not enough hours in a day for Mr.Slabbed to cover all of the corruption and malfeasance. I may declare a state of emergency.

  10. Les needs to step down for the benefit of the city he says he loves. Rafferty needs to decide if he is representing les or the city. Otherwise we are paying him to assist the cover up!

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