“They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance”

Indeed they do but I’m a bit jaded by prior auditing experience. Speaking of that how about another quote to go with the Edmund Burke quote in the post title.

There is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know. ~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Next up put under the Old Town Trolley by Hizzoner is the City’s former audit firm:

Where’s the DOJ money? Feds issue report on Bay St. Louis’ missing $298K ~ Wes Muller

No folks, this is not a bad rerun of the Singing River Health System financial meltdown because the root cause of the problem is easier to trace here in Bay St Louis.  Sources inside City Hall not authorized to speak with the media have repeatedly indicated to Slabbed New Media that the check which closed the bank account holding the Equitable Sharing funds was drafted less than 6 months after Mayor Fillingame first took office. The check to close the dedicated bank account and co-mingle the funds was written by former City Comptroller Katherine Smith and signed by Mayor Fillingame. This transaction was subsequently journalized into the City’s General Fund book of accounts by former City Clerk David Kolf before being expended on things such as fancy street lights for Old Town.

This is not particularly innovative form of administrative fraud folks. You never co-mingle dedicated funds and the former City Clerk should have made that clear to Hizzoner.

I forgot to mention this post is brought to you by the Old Town Bay St Louis Business Council:

How about another Edmund Burke quote:

Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to anything but power for their relief.

17 thoughts on ““They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance””

  1. Doug,
    We don’t actually know that Kolf didn’t tell the Mayor not to co- mingle the funds. Remember Kolf quit about 8 or 10 times I believe before he finally bailed!
    Wonder what The folks over at Wright, Ward, Hatten, and Guel think about Les blaming this mess on them. The next auditing firm had better get ready for Heaven knows what!!
    Les’s big problem now–
    Boudin is Council Pres. And isn’t in the mood for any,,,,,,,,,….!
    The Mayor could use one of his cronies sitting in that seat right now but that’s the breaks.

    1. The next auditing firm may have a easier time. It’s now clear just what the level of dysfunction is in BSL.

      The next letter of engagement will probably cover all the known unknowns and the necessity to be paid to cover and discover all the unknown unknowns.

  2. David Kolf may well have cautioned Less, but the buck stops at the top. And we still don’t know where the money is. Doug, do you know how the closing of the account was journalized? Exactly?
    I need to research if this would meet the threshold of embezzlement or malfeasance in office. Depending on what he did with it…

    1. Seems like some another things to be sure of is who at BSL is authorized to open and close bank accounts and what steps are to be followed to do so. Then-verify that the same have occurred.

      Does the mayor have authority to open and close bank accounts by himself? Or is council authorization required?

      Assuming that this has been done once, is that only once? As much or more shenanigans can be caused by unauthorized accounts being opened as closed…

      There probably should have been some paperwork generated…somewhere…sometime…if one knows exactly what to ask for…

      1. Spot on RFP. The council minutes will tell the tale on that. This could be why Muller mentioned the OSA Investigators in his story.

  3. I hope they hire the firm to audit again. They wont play nice with him as they tried to keep a positive out look this go around. The next audit will have the so called clerical error of the insurance bills being paid out of harbor funds. They will find that the money to cover that was not in place and the insurance would have gone into lapse status. They will have more time card info on lil baby girl filingame as well as work documentation and more money handling problems at the rental properties. News Media people with outstanding water bills etc…..They know his game and now he will be doing more finger pointing and blaming.
    Has he got a water meter at his rental unit yet? gas or utility bill or $13 fee? Nice being the mayor others pay your way.

    He needs a nice tax payer MML trip to get him and bobby and wendy back on track!

    1. The question on the rental on his property is does he report it to the IRS or just pockets the money. Kind of like “cash” for the Community Center Rental?? There seems to be a pattern here for hiding funds. What about the Longfellow Center above the parking garage? Who collects that and where does it go?

      1. I noted at the last city council meeting that the council made mention of the Electrical bill for the Community Center has doubled, but Clark said indicated that the rentals were about the same. So, how does the electricity bill almost double with no increase in rentals? And remember the auditor has said that cash sales for the center are grossly mismanaged.

        1. Da’ Riddle-ler says’ Riddle Me Dis’ Batman,

          How does electric bill double but rental fees stay the same?

          Simple- either someone didn’t turn da’ lights off at the Center when they left or someone left with da’ rental fees when da’ lights were off at City Hall.

          1. NEWS BREAK- fresh from da’ mouth of Les…

            Les’ Answer to Da’ Riddle-ler’s Riddle:

            Simple answer-‘Didn’t we tell you good folks we are charging all the BSL electric vehicles at the Community Center’

            Dat Les, he done gotts an answer fo’ everythin’

  4. After reading all the related articles from the Sun Herald, I paid close attention to the signed affidavits. If the account was closed a few months after Les took office, according to the affidavits in 2010 the final balance was $178,908.95 after receiving $16,995.21 and spending $44,549.35. So, $178,908.95 carried over to 2011. In that year, the received $60,230.53 and some change, and spent $1,207.00 leaving an ending balance of $238,434.67. In 2012, the City received $32,716.07 and spent no money for Police related expenses and posted an ending balance of $271,177.86. In 2013, the City received $10,499.91 and spent no money for Police related expenses and posted an ending balance of $284,145.28. 2014 mirrors the last three years, $13, 903.67 funds received, and posted an ending balance of $298,108.56 spending no funds on police related equipment. The point is to say that they did not know better or that the auditing firm did not catch this is a weak fabrication of the truth. The City received the funds every year and each year the Mayor signs the affidavits. And the fact that not one penny was spent for the Police Dept., for the last three years is just despicable. But they raised the mills, increased utility rates, and added a debt service fee to our water bills, and guess what they are leasing the new police cars that will accrue interest. This is what being a good steward of the city’s money means.

  5. I am so glad the Sun Herald ran Wes Muller’s story yesterday including the affidavits.
    This has established for the public the REAL issue at hand, which is———WHAT was this money spent on? These are dedicated funds for Police expenses.
    As I see it, the Mayor and his staff in the finance department had better produce minutes authorizing expenditures and invoices to verify them being for Police expenses.
    It really isn’t complicated. It was done correctly by the previous administration, which begs the question—Why change it?
    It is not rocket science to give dedicated funds their own code number, keep a ledger on the activities the funds are being spent on, and REPORT that monthly to the City Council!!
    Come on, people!

  6. af·fi·da·vit
    ˌafəˈdāvit/
    nounLAW
    a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, for use as evidence in court.

  7. Les was conniving in getting the Police Chief to “rent” new cars instead of buying. He knew all along the money was not there and had to do something so it would not be discovered. So clever like a real con and thief. Wake up people in BSL it is all coming to light his incompetence and thievery.

    1. That’s right. And after he bought the cars and financed then using the City’s full faith and credit (sans the legally required public notices) he stuck everyone with a tax levy to pay for them.

  8. Breaking news coming this week….. A reliable source has told me that from 9-30-2015 til 12-1-2015 the City of Bay St Louis was without health insurance, disability insurance, dental insurance, for the employees or the family members whom pay the city for this. Wait so once again we have withheld money from one thing and spent it on another???? Wake up Stacy Pickering.

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