Playing the local media for fools here on the Coast is nothing new part 2 (Updated)

When it comes to Bay St Louis, WLOX seems to get played more than the rest folks. A compare and contrast is in order, first the WLOX story which relies on one source and that source happens to be the person responsible for the Bay St Louis – Department of Justice disaster:

Mayor Les Fillingame tells us the audit could be complete by the end of the year. Fillingame said DOJ officials indicated they want the city to remain in the drug forfeiture program, despite any potential problems.

Those problems could include not spending the drug forfeiture money the correct way or not documenting the expenditures properly.

If that is found to be the case, the city could be asked to pay back up to $300,000. That money would come from the city’s general fund. Fillingame said he hopes that is not the case.

Now let’s highlight Wes Muller’s story on this matter for the Sun Herald. Muller relied on multiple sources for his story and the difference shows:

“It was pretty simple,” Mike Favre said of the meeting. “We’ve got to put the money back. They’re going back and they’ll discuss whether we get to keep the money once we put it back or if they’re going to take it.”

He said there’s a chance the DOJ could take the $320,000 as “some sort of punishment.”

“We’re still being looked at by other agencies,” he said. “I think one of them is the DOJ’s inspector general, and from what I understand, it won’t be good if they come in. You don’t want them there.”

So not only will the City be required to make the DOJ fund whose cash were misspent by the Fillingame Administration whole it may have to repay the entire thing to the DOJ, which means the City will likely also be kicked out of the program. That sounds serious to me.

The Mayor, as parroted by City Auditor Robert Culumber has been steadfastly maintaining there was not a big problem with the DOJ money because,  “the (DOJ) money has been there (in the City accounts) the entire time”. The draft of the audit submitted for City Council approval by Culumber show he modified the findings of the previous audit firm that uncovered the problem to conform it to his take on disaster, which is not supported by the City’s financial records. There are now rumors swirling in Bay St Louis that a group of taxpaying citizens has referred their concerns about deficiencies in the Culumber 2015 Fiscal Year Bay St Louis single audit to the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy. Slabbed is working to confirm that rumor.  Online records at the Office of the State Auditor do not contain the 2015 report, a final copy of which was submitted to and approved by the City Council late last summer.

Speaking of rumors, one is swirling that Mayor Fillingame yesterday blamed the entire fiasco on deceased former Chief of Police Mike Denardo going so far as to claim that Denardo had forged his signature on the annual financial affidavits submitted to DOJ which showed the restricted funds were still in the bank despite the fact they had been comingled and misspent by the Fillingame Administration.  Slabbed has been unable to confirm this rumor with any of the meeting participants.

Denardo was under investigation for Payroll Fraud and selling city owned assault rifles when he took his own life outside the Bay PD station house in early September in a separate disaster for the Fillingame Administration. The FBI, ATF and Hancock County Sheriff are currently investigating those allegations.

Update

Since this post was published I have become aware that several readers have contacted WLOX complaining about the story which aired on this morning’s news. WLOX has since updated their story but the update is itself misleading:

The city council made a move in February to replace the money with funds out of a reserve account. That money has been placed in a separate account flagged for drug forfeiture funds.

While it is true the City Council made that “move”, they also made a move to place a claim against the Fidelity bonds of Mayor Fillinagme and the two previous City Clerks. However, at a subsequent meeting they were advised by DOJ to do nothing until the City’s suspension from the Equitable Sharing program was resolved thus the money was never transferred and the Council rescinded its previous action. Wes Muller factually reports for the Sun Herald that the DOJ fund currently a cash balance of $21,000, a far cry from the $320,000 repayment that must be made.

28 thoughts on “Playing the local media for fools here on the Coast is nothing new part 2 (Updated)”

  1. I would have only one correction to Mike Favre’s statement:
    He says,”WE have to pay the money back”
    No, the person or persons who
    took it have to pay it back.
    The first and most important order of budiness this Council has before them is to revoke the bonds of the Mayor and any and all who assisted him in co-mingling this Federal Grant. Period.
    No Reserve Fund, no General Fund, nothing that belongs to the taxpayers should be touched to satisfy this illegal co- mingling of funds.
    The public had no knowledge of what was happening to their money and the Council has no business making them the scapegoats to let the real offenders off! NO WAY!
    This is the public whose votes and confidence they solicited 3 1/2 years ago and who have compensated Council to protect their tax dollars.
    They deserve better.

  2. Les has lied and deceived all who has come before him for information. The council expedited the State, The Fed and the Sheriff to look into his debacles. So far the only thing that has not occurred is making him accountable for it. I believe justice will be served.

    Les has victimized the council, business owners, citizens and service providers. I do agree enough is enough.
    He needs to spend some time in the confines of a jail cell to reflect on all he has violated!

  3. Les is on his last leg. He cannot continue to thumb his nose at the law and make up stories about other people being guilty. When under oath his supporters may adjust their stories like his eye witness did in his daughters court case.

    What ya gonna do when they come for you Bad Boy!

  4. If there are any attorneys posting here or reading this site, the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government is looking for some input.
    The question is:
    In Miss. can public funds be used to remedy the misappropriation of public funds by an elected official or public employee?
    To be more specific, the Bay St. Louis City Council is tasked with replacing the DOJ funds and are considering using the taxpayers’ Municipal Reserve Fund to do this.
    The Municipal Reserve Fund is made up of revenue from the sale of the public’s property, BP money, and a tax increase.
    Is this an ethical and legitimate use of this Reserve Fund, or would that be yet another misappropriation?
    Those responsible for handling these funds on a daily basis are all covered by surety bonds provided by the taxpayers.
    Would appreciate any legal feedback.

  5. Good question. They need to make Les remedy this asap. Otherwise it will just be another debt upaid by him as he has done his whole life. He needs a hard date and a Writ if not repaid in whole immediately!

    1. The Council had better think about one other big part of this equation–
      If they use the taxpayers money to bail out the Mayor and his staff that handled this money, what incentive is there for anyone else in City Hall to abide by the law? The new rule in the old REA building will be–“Do what you want, Council will stick it to the folks to bail you out!”
      This isn’t the first bail out of the Mayor and his underlings by the public in this term of office. That scenario will be presented in full right here on Slabbed. Stay tuned!
      It is an unfortunate pattern of behavior😩😩

    1. My experience in these kind of situations is the insurance company tenders. It is not big money to them in the scheme of things and beats the heck out of spending it on litigation and having to make good.

        1. To the extent Hizzoner must have a bond as a legal condition for holding office may prove very problematic for him after it is tendered.

      1. Would you want to defend Lying Les? He is one big sham. He has stiffed everyone he has ever done business with including the tax payers at large!

  6. “Title 21 – MUNICIPALITIES
    Chapter 35 – MUNICIPAL BUDGET
    § 21-35-17 – Budget estimates not to be exceeded; liability therefor

    Universal Citation: MS Code § 21-35-17 (2013)

    Expenditures made, liabilities incurred, or warrants issued in excess of any of the budget detailed appropriations as originally and finally determined, or as thereafter revised by transfer as provided by this chapter, shall not be a liability of the municipality, but the official making or incurring such expenditure or issuing such warrant shall be liable therefor personally and upon his official bond. The governing authorities shall not approve any claim and the city clerk shall not issue any warrant for any expenditure in excess of said detailed budget appropriations as finally adopted, or as revised under the provisions of this chapter, except upon an order of a court of competent jurisdiction or for an emergency, as provided in this chapter. Any one or more of the governing authorities, or clerk, approving any claim or issuing any warrant in excess of any such budget appropriation, except as above provided, shall forfeit to the municipality twice the amount of such claim or warrant, which shall be recovered in an action against such member, or members, of the governing authorities, or clerk, or all of them, and the several sureties on their official bonds, and it shall be the duty of the governing authorities of such municipality, or the state auditor, as the head of the state department of audit, or the director thereof, appointed by him, or any taxpayer of such municipality, to bring an action therefor through the city attorney, or any attorney designated and empowered so to do by a court of competent jurisdiction.

  7. Fact :
    This douche bag is now trying to put the blame on the Chief, David & Katherine.
    Says that he didn’t know anyone was trying to amend the affidavits for the DOJ funds & that someone forged his name on the affidavits.
    Another investigation!!
    This guy never stops.
    Lying les is perfect for him!!

  8. He did not consider Video Surveillance Cameras either. Cameras don’t blink and signatures are unique.

    When you live on ” The Big Rock Candy Mountain ” lies become truth, lemonade streams, money grows on trees, hay in every barn! Ask His Assholiness he will tell you.

  9. We all know what type of person Les is and has been. But he has set a new set of standards for his moral character. He has stooped to the lowest any human being could possibly do. To blame his bad actions and misappropriation of funds on a Dead Person the is last straw.
    Wake up Citizens o f BSL and realize his nothing but SCUM. To say the Chief forged his name when DeNardo can not defend himself.
    This man has to go. He has no conscious or anything.
    As a taxpayer in BSL I will fight that the Council should do the right thing and order the Bonds be used on the individuals involved to pay this money back. Not us. we are tired of paying for his mistakes. The Waste Water is one huge misuse of funds and the citizens should have realized what type of person he was from that.
    I say to the new City Attorney, Trent, advise the council for the appropriate action to be taken even if it does affect your friend David. You were hired to advise, now do your job. Let the chips fall where they can.

    1. I would imagine that Trent Farve lies in bed at night, staring at the ceilng, and wondering why in an obvious moment of tempoary insanity, he ever agreed to take the job of Bay Saint Louis attorney.

  10. we all work for money but the difference is who does what we pay them to do. Trent is the best thing we have had since sliced bread!

    Drain The Swamp!

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