It was indeed a Humdinger…..

Before we get to what happened very late in last night’s Bay St Louis City Council meeting here is the set up from Slabbed’s coverage on Twitter:

Then:

Then new police Chief Freeman took to the podium to update the Council on the massive mold problems at the Bay PD station house. This problem has been an open secret locally for around 10 days, Slabbed hearing about it from a Bay City employee that was not authorized to speak with the media. Unable to keep it secret from the public Hizzoner took the story to the Echo, which ran it in today’s paper:

All the above would have made for a successful meeting from a news standpoint but a massive amount of city business was conducted in the marathon meeting and I’m certain Cassandra Favre will have a comprehensive recap for Saturday’s paper so lets skip to the lengthy executive session at the end of the meeting as the Council threw a curve ball that actually makes sense. Those following the topic of the misspent DoJ funds understand a favorite talking point of the Mayor is that “the money was there all along” and this talking point was parroted by the City’s audit firm, who for whatever reason would not or could not identify for the Council where the money was located on the 2015 FY financial statements they audited. Along those lines it was natural for the Council to conclude that to the extent the DoJ funds were not co-mingled and misspent out of the municipal reserve fund, which was depleted when the DoJ problem was discovered, the money “that was there all along” had to be in the general operating fund thus the Council voted to approve the DOJ repayment out of the City’s general fund, as soon as the February Ad Valorem tax check from the County tax collector is received. I suspect the next step after repayment is made would be for the Council to ask Hizzoner for a list of budget cuts, since the $300,000 plus repayment to DoJ was not budgeted. Last month the proposal to let the Sheriff run the Bay PD saving at least $200,000 was shot down by the public so that option is now off the table. All of this assumes the Mayor does not veto the unanimously passed resolutions to repay the funds. Such a veto, if not overridden, will not only land the City in Federal Court but it will insure it is kicked out of the Equitable Sharing program. Betting money is the Mayor vetoes the Council actions.

Stay tuned.

14 thoughts on “It was indeed a Humdinger…..”

  1. I am going to bet with you, Doug, that the Mayor moves to save his own neck, and not the city that he took an oath of office to run according to local, State, and Federal laws.
    And, that pitiful attempt will be a veto, which will last about as long as a snowball in Hell.
    This Council is united and determined to resolve this in the best interest of the taxpayers, who, as Sam Moore of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government stated to Council last night, “had no idea their Department of Justice Police Funds were being illegally spent and misappropriated, as stated by the Department of Justice in their final report. So, don’t come after us for it. Go after the responsible parties.”
    To do otherwise would be like arresting and prosecuting the teller in a bank robbery rather than the guy that took the loot!!!

  2. Yet they transferred the money from the general fund, and the taxpayers paid for the administration’s mistakes. Again.
    Anybody for more $13 a month charges?
    Less, David Kopf, and Katherine Smith each have $100,000 bonds we bought. Have they been called?
    The auditors that failed to spot errors have E&O insurance. Has anyone looked at that?
    The path of least resistance is taking the money from the taxpayers. Again.
    I’m sick of it. Anyone else?

  3. Didn’t really see any place to post this. You MS Coast and Slabbed folks might want to look into this:

    WVUE Fox 8 in New Orleans did a story on Sunday or Monday about reef permits, commercial snapper fishing and the interesting situation surrounding it, essentially calling it yet another taxpayer ripoff. Go to the WVUE website and click on the link for the “Hooked Up” investigative report for the whole story.

    Anyway, it turns out that one of the biggest beneficiaries of the program – to the tune of about a million a year – is Tampico Inc, which is owned by the Horn family, who are in the seafood business in Pascagoula. And guess what Jackson County law firm has ties to that family/seafood business – yep, Dogan and Wilkinson. Unless things have recently changed, Hanson Horn (a grandson/son/ nephew) is a partner there. The mere connection is no evidence of anything by itself, but one has to wonder why every time some sort of scam, taxpayer ripoff or other such BS surfaces in that part of south MS, there are close ties to Dogan and Wilkinson, closely-associated former partners and/or “friends and family.”

  4. And, now we find out the Bay Police Department building is full of mold, is dilapidated, is falling apart, and will have to be replaced. You known this was known by Les and the city during the discussion. over consolidation with the Sheriff’s Office. Apparently it didn’t bother Captain Mayley enough to bring it up when he came to the meeting and spoke against consolidation. Funny how they all forgot to mention it until now. We just flat can’t trust anyone working for the city to tell us the truth about anything.

    Hell, it’s just taxpayer money. It’s not like it’s real money or anything. Wonder what our new millage rate will be.

  5. I was not able to make the meeting, but saw the news last night. It was so refreshing to see Joey say the council will go after the Bond Money to satisfy the $300K money taken from our Men in Blue for Les’ inability to run a city efficiently and within the boundaries of the law. While he may not have take any money personally, he took from us the taxpayers, which is more criminal. He misused our City Budget money. One has to live within their means, and he has to cut the budget to make it work and not keep taking from other resources and funds.
    Same with the Waste Water Authority. When will the 13.00 stop and the last I heard the money was not going into the proper account.
    He says the Council approved, well he presented to them and they relied on his ability and the clerks to abide by the law. It took a while, but the council did wake up and see what he has been doing all these years and bringing the DOJ in was spectacular.
    Now lets see if the council holds to their commitment to the taxpayers and citizens of BSL and do the right thing with the Bond Money. This has to stop and get resolved. Elected officials have to be held accountable for their actions and not get a pass at the expense of us.
    Sorry Trent about your friend David, but when you sleep with dogs you get fleas !!! He made the decision to join with Les, knowing it was not the best and legal way to operate the budget.

    1. Well, I applaud the majority of the city council for finally waking up. But, I don’t see how they can brag about it after having been asleep at the wheel for three years.

      1. I have, along with the other members of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government, attended every meeting with few exceptions, for the past 4. years. My observation is that the the incumbents on the Council with the exception of Boudin, have not only been asleep at the wheel, they were happy to let Les and Rafferty drive for tooooooo
        long, way tooooo long.
        The two new kids on the block, Favre and Falgout, along with Boudin got a handle on things, and have FINALLY brought the others along.
        Thd vote to go after the bonds was unanimous, none opposed. For a long time observer, that is progress, long fought for, but progress!
        Now that the DOJ has resolved their recovery of the misappropriated funds( which I do not call a ” mistake”) the false affidavits for six years swearing the money was there, has to be addressed. Since swearing out a false affidavit is a felony, it is my understanding the Office of Inspector General would address this and this investigation into this city’s officials is not over.
        Stay tuned!

      2. I’ve regularly attended meetings during the three years you referenced and your blanket indictment of the council is not fair to what was at first a minority of the council that recognized what was going on. When Les was re-elected in 2013 he could count 4 members doing most anything he told them to do:

        1. Rev. Reed
        2. Doug Seal
        3. Wendy McDonald
        4. Bobby Compretta

        Reed and Seal peeled away fairly early on. Favre and Falgout were new and by time they took office in July 2013 the financial damage was already done. Boudin and Taylor were Hizzoner’s only opposition on the 2009-2013 Board.

  6. Doug Reed, Seal, McDonald and Compretta have been Les lap dogs for a long time. Seal was the only one who picked his info up before the councils meetings the rest of them got them the night of the meetings when they came in the door. Never ask any questions just looked at Les and he would nod and wink and they would vote. Pathetic. No wonder Les thought he could do whatever he wanted. It is my understanding that the council did not know about the DOJ account until the Chief ratted Les out. So how can they be responsible for something that they didn’t know.

  7. Observer It is strange to me that no one new about the police building being in such shape for the last eight years. Did all this happen overnight. The mayor should have had this fixed long ago. A little bird told me there are more problems in the Bay PD. Will be coming out in the near future.

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