Yesterday we highlighted the WLOX coverage of the Fillingame Administration misappropriating and then spending the DoJ Equitable Sharing Grant on expenses other than for law enforcement. Today we have a two pack from the Sea Coast Echo and the Sun Herald as Hizzoner continues to wax nonsensical. First up is Cassandra Favre’s report for the Echo:
Favre said when city officials met with DOJ representatives in Jackson, everyone in that meeting “felt like that we had to repay this money and we wouldn’t get to spend it in Bay St. Louis, that they would take the money back.”
Favre said Falgout made a presentation to DOJ representatives about the “deplorable” condition of the Bay St. Louis Police Department building.
“They seemed to buy into it,” Favre said. “They went back to Washington with that information, that we would spend the money on the building and other things for the police department if we put the money back and they allowed us to keep it. Evidently, they came back in January, when we had that meeting a week or so ago and said we would be able to keep the money here and spend it on the police department.”
Missing in Cassandra’s story are any quotes from Mayor Fillingame, who left the Council meeting shortly after the DoJ report was read into the record and approved by the Council.
Meantime Wes Muller hit the ball out of the park with his story on the same topic, which built upon some dynamite journalism he did back when this story first broke:
In its investigation, the Sun Herald obtained records from the DOJ, including an affidavit signed by Mayor Les Fillingame, certifying the city had accumulated $298,108 in forfeitures as of Sept. 30, 2014. As the council had not approved any purchases with the DOJ money since 2011, the balance of the general operating account should never have dipped below that amount.
But during an August 2015 meeting, council members noticed the general operating account had a cash balance of only $80,000. The council called for an inquiry by state and federal authorities.
The last paragraph quoted above contains the salient fact that completely debunks the Fillingame Administration’s favorite meme that the money was there the entire time as it clearly wasn’t but it is also clear that the Mayor is as challenged by simple math as he is managing the City’s budget. A numbers person he isn’t folks.
Here is a sampling of reaction in social media, which is quite enlightening:
Why do you people keep putting the same criminals back in public office~ James McDonald
Bay St. Louis, MS mis-spent about $300,000 drug forfeiture money. That’s a nice way of saying “they stole it” (and some think MS doesn’t need asset forfeiture reform!). ~ Mississippi for Liberty Facebook Group
this is a bunch of bull! i was at that meeting and the funds are there but in the general fund, we don’t pay them back we spend them on the PD with restrictions by the DOJ….very misleading…. ~ BSL Ward 4 Councilman Candidate Larry Smith, responding to the WLOX story on the DoJ report.
Folks, it looks like the Ward Four candidate is as math challenged as his friend Hizzoner. The lesson here in this election season is that when it comes to the candidates for office Cavet Emptor. Luckily for the public, Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good GovernemntTM has disclosed to Slabbed that as per usual in this local election season, the Alliance will be hosting at least one Candidate forum. Maybe Smith can explain then how $80,000 is greater than $300,000.