Come join Hizzoner on the magic carpet…..

Car Wreck Les
Citizens parody of Bay St Louis Mayor Les Fillingame’s attempts to spin the now seriously late FY 2014 Municipal Audit and ongoing Department of Justice and State Auditor Investigations into the City’s financial practices.

Sources: Auditor’s report shows BSL finances ‘pretty ugly’ ~ WLOX.com

Tonight, Bay St. Louis finances are under the microscope. WLOX News has confirmed that both the Department of Justice and the State Auditor’s office have sent investigators to Hancock County. And according to multiple city council sources, what they’re finding “is pretty ugly.”

The council members we talked with today say investigators are asking a lot of questions about how money has been spent by Bay St. Louis leaders. Those sources tell us some of the financial issues focus on a police forfeiture fund, and as much as $315,000 in unaccounted money.

I for one am glad WLOX has caught up with local happenings here in beautiful Mayberry-by-the-Sea, named by numerous travel magazines that few people read and even fewer take seriously as one of the coolest Mayberries in this entire nation. Its also broke and under investigation but what a few hundred thousand dollars of misspent Drug Forfeiture funds between friends and neighbors to go with all the other misspending?

That said with Stacey Pickering’s people lurking about Eye Spy, a veteran of sorts of State Auditor’s Office Investigations checked in yesterday with some good advice:

I would highly recommend all lower and mid-level employees to lawyer-up before dealing with Pickerings clan. The innocent will get fucked if they don’t.

I’m not going to re-live Slabbed’s previous coverage of the State’s non-prosecution of former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker in favor of nabbing lower level employees that may or may not have padded their travel by a few hundred dollars because it is what it is. However I’ve already seen the sure signs that Mayor Fillingame is putting his former City Clerk David Kolf under the bus, blaming Kolf by name for the closure of the Drug Forfeiture Fund in a City Council meeting (and also as quoted by Dwayne Bremer at the Seacoast Echo). Kolf would be exactly the type of mid-level employee Eye Spy would be talking about.

All that said sources in Bay St Louis government speaking to Slabbed New Media under condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the Drug Forfeiture Fund Investigation tell Slabbed the 2009 check which closed the related Drug Forfeiture Special Revenue Fund to the City’s General Fund just months after Mayor Fillingame first took office was written by current City Clerk Katherine Smith and signed by Mayor Fillingame.

Finally I’d like to note that at the City’s 2015-2016 budget workshop Mayor Fillingame proposed $1/hour raises for all City employees with the City Council settling on 50 cents. The Mayor is at least admitting the City is short on operating funds which is a polite way of saying the General Fund is broke. The General Fund in a Mississippi Municipality contains a variety of unrestricted revenue streams the two major ones being Sales and Property Taxes. Those revenue streams fund basic city services including Police, Fire and Public Works.

My educated guess is that at October 1, 2014, the City’s general fund had deficit cash when the Drug Forfeiture funds that were misspent are accounted for and quite frankly there is no telling what other dedicated revenue sources Mayor Fillingame raided to fuel his spending addiction, which he has done his best to hide for the past 6 years.

The other problem I see is that the amount of current claims payable has not been quantified. Sources on the Bay City Council indicate to Slabbed New Media that the 2014 draft audit entire indicates that check runs of City Council approved claims were voided after approval, ostensibly because there was no money in the General Fund to cover the checks. Until there is a current accounting of the amounts of claims payable and the General Fund Cash balance, the City Council is pissing in the wind fooling with the 2015-2016 municipal budget, which by law in Mississippi must be figured and presented on the cash basis of accounting with certain statutory exceptions.

Instead, despite the fact that none of the above is a secret because the State Auditor’s Office gives away for free its Mississippi Municipal Audit and Accounting Guide, last year the majority of the City’s elected official  including the City Council acted as if this were all some sort of mystery and adopted a spending plan instead of a statutorily compliant municipal budget, albeit such spending plan one that was based on realistic revenue numbers for the first time in years.

The problem with all this is if the General Fund has deficit cash, there are large amounts of unrecorded claims payable and the City’s adopted current budget spends every nickle in revenue that is collected, the General Fund will end the year still in a deficit, one that will no doubt be larger if the unrecorded claims payable liabilities are every accounted for and this does not count the proposed 50 cent an hour raises.

Last year I watched Mayor Fillingame skillfully use the City’s employees to force the City Council to adopt a budget that was both statutorily deficient and fiscally irresponsible. It looks like it will be more of the same this year with the raises he proposed. Frankly, I think both Bay St Louis and Waveland underpay their work forces but that is not uncommon in small town Mississippi. But when you look at the over $150,000 the City had to pay in 2014 to refinance refunding bonds that were on the verge of default and all the other places tax money leaks out due to financial incompetence, the money for the raises is already there in revenues.  This is especially true if a policy decision is made to stop wasting money on harebrained schemes that give free dumpster service to Beach Front restaurants along with funding free bus service in Old Town that few people depend upon for transportation that 50 cent raise is possible without taxes going up a nickle.

Until the Administration stops playing financial shell games with the City’s finances, I don’t see how anyone in their right minds would want to pay more tax to fund the financial shell games. That likely won’t stop a majority of the City Council from raising taxes even more to throw down Mayor Fillingame’s financial black hole however.

Stay tuned.

18 thoughts on “Come join Hizzoner on the magic carpet…..”

  1. What’s that old saying, Doug?
    It’s a fool who won’t confront reality, because eventually it will confront him?
    My only hope is that the utility users in the Bay finally be made whole. If our State Auditor fails them, he is not worthy of the office he holds or the oath he took.

  2. Ms Noonan – I hate to be the one to inform you, but we may as well have NO State Auditor than to have the one we do. If you recall, he failed to follow a sitting Judges’ orders and she cited him with contempt of court. Why? Because he had the records proving the guilt of involved parties in the DMR scandal (which some say included the Who’s who of politics). And Philly, Billy the boy, Puhl-a$$o, and Fata$$’s boy, Jamie (who by the way has no management experience or skills imo), is still there “in that den of thieves” that he supposedly straightened out. But somehow, Joe Cloyd and his company, are still getting contracts from his dear friend, Jamie. And the scandal continues with “friends and family” who have been given positions that they are not qualified for, along with big pay that have not been approved through the State Personnel board. They do whatever they want to, and have their own little kingdom!
    Next came the SRHS debacle and those poor employees and retirees who worked for years so that they could receive their retirement, were robbed of the same. Did Mr. Pickering step in and do the right thing? Those poor people stood out in the 100 degree weather picketing and trying to get someone’s attention. Did our State Auditor try to find out who took these people’s money? I’ll let you answer that one….just give me a guess…. I can tell you this – he wasn’t going to point the finger at his “dear friends and family” who were involved in it up to their ears…and by the way, were tied in with the DMR scandal.
    And, as you know, the situation in BSL has been going on for a while now. Has our illustrious State Auditor stepped in and straightened this out? What is your guess on that one??? That’s right, you guessed it! People have been begging for investigations on this for quite a long time. Even the FEDS have been dragging their butts on all of these scandals. Why?? How deep does this go? Is Bush involved? Is Cochran involved? Is Fata$$ involved? Is Philly and Billy the boy involved? My bet would be – that is all of them. Contractors (local and out-of-State) are involved and there are little birdies singing songs about that right now. Why, the money run through that Port in Gulfport alone is enough to choke the average person. And why hasn’t the FEDS come to our rescue? Because powerful republicans are keeping the heat off. So who is there to save us? The fox are guarding the hen house, literally.

  3. I think I made myself clear, Charlene. I agree with everything you said, and if our State Auditor does not start doing his job in all of these scenarios, he is not worthy of the position he holds or the oath he took.

    1. Agreed! We have suffered! Frustration of a Rogue Government! It is tuff. Finally like all rogue systems ego soon gets them in trouble. This time it was our council stopping the ponzi by stopping the cash influx! Like all scociopaths he is trying to take credit for our reserve! Everyone knows thst we have it because we liquidated property…chamber building and Pole Yard as well as the Bp claim. Mr filingame wanted to keep the chamber at their $1.00 per year plus overhead and wanted plant a daffodil farm at the pole yard as well as dump BP$ into the general fund like all the other missing funds! Thats the truth!

    2. You did make yourself clear Ms Noonan. I realize that you know fully well what is going on in your neck of the woods. But just wanted to make sure everyone else knew the networking of that crooked bunch. More are exposed every day! Thank you for keeping us informed over in your direction.

  4. Sounds good to me Eye, but you know that the insecure midget men in this State won’t allow that to happen. Nor will the insecure fat men in this State. Nor will the insecure cry babies in the State. Only the secure and capable REAL men in this State are not intimidated by working with a woman because those men do their jobs and don’t have to worry about the woman outdoing them on a daily basis. They are secure with themselves. But “the Regime” is LOADED with the insecure types of men, who either had no nurturing as a child, OR had too much nurturing as a child. Not sure which one, but they are women haters and fear a capable, hard-working woman.
    I wish this lady all the luck in the world and she surely would be an improvement. What party is she with? I didn’t see it listed on her site? And wonder if she wants some foot soldiers down here to help her out with her campaign? We should all jump in and help her run the trash out of Jackson politics.

  5. The reality of operating local governments on a very abbreviated ad valorem tax base post Katrina is setting in for sure.
    Our government leaders over built leaving those of us still able to pay taxes with palaces for them to work in and us to maintain. 78% of the residents in Waveland and the Bay are on some kind of government assistance leaving 22% of us to pick up the tab. And what do we have going up in Waveland?–
    Another subsidized housing project while 435 parcels of land that were once paying taxes sitting stagnant. Yes, reality is setting in.
    In the midst of all this there is NO ROOM for lying and cheating with public money.
    Truth and Transparency are rare commodities but sorely needed!

  6. My Fellow Americans:

    I would like to take this opportunity to personally endorse Joce Pritchett for The Auditor of Mississippi.

    Unlike Stacey Pickering, Joce Pritchett has a credible education and is an established professional with credentials to lead Mississippi in the right direction.

    Unlike Stacey Pickering, Joce Pritchett does not have political or deep, friendly ties with anyone which would influence the position of the State Auditor.

    Please show your support this November for Joce Pritchett.

    http://joceforauditor.com/

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jokiepepper

    https://m.facebook.com/pritchettforauditor

    Let the real fight against “The Culture of Corruption” begin.

  7. The Fox is watching the Hen House.
    Pickering is being investigated himself yet the people elect him. How do you explain this? For years the people of BSL have asked for the Auditors office come to BSL and investigate. Where has he been. Now after the Money goes missing in the Police Dept. budget we get some action. Government? Quit re-electing the crooked politicians and get some qualified hopeful honest people in office to oversee our public trust.

  8. Doug,
    Just wanted to get the word out via Slabbed of the official report of the Bay St. Louis Audit today by the auditing firm Wright, Ward, Hatten & Guel.
    This will happen at 5:30pm today in the City Council Chamber behind the Shell Station at Highway 90 and Main St.
    The Hancock County Alliance for Good Government urges ALL taxpayers to attend.
    It has been our observation and opinion for several years now that the city’s finances are being grossly mismanaged, and I am being charitable.
    After tonight’s presentation, the Man of the Hour will be
    State Auditor Stacey Pickering.
    The business at hand is “very serious” as one high ranking State Official shared with me this summer.
    We’ll see if Stacey is mature enough to address it!!

  9. Les is a buffoon! He is guilty and his adversaries want his ass! It ain’t going away easy! Wendy was the lone objected to the Proforma Audit! Does she have something to hide? Common sense tells you yes! She is no more than a cronie with voting power! If she has to think……God forbid it is fucking stupid and off the mark! She is a funny talker……if your looking for entertainment!

  10. Wendy has always been a puppet for the Mayor ever since she was elected. She loves the Glitz and Glamour being by his side cutting ribbons, attending balls in a limosine, private parties on the Trolley and more. Isn’t that what politicians do?? She doesn’t even use her married name for fear of not getting elected with the name of Winters instead of the well known in the community name of McDonald that so many BSL people know. Of course, who would want to say they were married to Henry Winters?? We could collect all the skeletons he has in his closet and use them to decorate for Halloween next month the whole town of BSL. Does he still work for Habitat? If so, that is also why she keeps a different name. Another day in BSL.
    I Wonder what the council will act upon now with the Audit from Last Night?

  11. I attended the meeting last night and came away with this conclusion:
    There is a remedy for the financial mess in the Bay. It’s called an election!!!

  12. Wendy and Leslie want the Council to take a Trolley ride through the 2nd ward while holding hands and Rafferty leading in singing Cum Ba Ya!

    Rafferty and Wendy vehemently opposed the Pro Forma Audit. Throw a rock in a pack of dogs and see who yelps! They have plenty to hide! Use of public resources for their events. Abuse of position and influence…..Wonder who lost court records and altered fines and fees? You don’t have to think to hard! Late Fees for utilities only if your not in with clan,,,,You think any Habitat Houses were on that delinquent no pay no shut off no late fee program? LOL More to come

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