Comment bump | Lana Noonan: Mayor exercised poor judgment speaking about DoJ Audit and misspent funds

Folks I was at part of last night’s meeting and put out two segments on Periscope both of which will self destruct in 9 hours or so. The State Auditor segment is wobbly but with good acoustics. The public comment section included Mr. Wells of Ward 6 with the Mayor’s interrupting Mr. Well’s remarks but what he said being very hard to discern acoustically on that segment posted to Periscope.

It is a fairly well known fact that I am hearing impaired so I had a hard enough time hearing what I thought the Mayor said, which I discerned as, “the Apollo moon landings were staged at a movie studio in New Orleans (Film Tax Credit Incentivized), the reality is that the moon is made of green cheese and that it’s all former Mayor Favre’s fault.” Luckily for everyone Lana Noonan of the Hancock Alliance for Good Government was sitting next to me taking notes and I think she heard what the Mayor actually said:

The Mayor utilized his poor judgement early in the meeting last night when he interrupted Ward 6 resident, David Well’s and attempted to blame the previous administration for the handling of the DOJ funds!

I have reviewed the previous city audits and could not locate the handling of those funds as a finding until this year.

Four of the seven Council served in the previous administration with former Mayor, Eddie Favre, and Ward I Councilman Doug Seal stated publicly last night that the handling of these Drug Forfeiture Funds were never a finding in the city audits until this year under the Fillingame administration.

In their Preliminary Report the Department of Justice concurred with the independent auditing firm.The DOJ also declared some of the expenditures were impermissible and there was not sufficient documentation to prove the funds were spent on Police Dept. needs as required by law.

If the Departnent of Justicd had found everything in apple pie order, they would have issued that determination to the Council by letter and left town. They would not have ordered an audit!

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

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: Continue reading “Come join Hizzoner on the magic carpet…..”

The Irony of Avid Life Media passing legal threats on the internet is delicious

If Avid Life Media aka Ashley Madison used fake female profiles to lure men to paying for the service, such customers guaranteed to keep their mouths shut if they were not satisfied with the results who also had to pay $19.99 to leave Ashley Madison with a “full delete” service that itself appears to be a scam, at what point does the following come into play since Avid Life used the wires to conduct the business enterprise:

(1)“racketeering activity” means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; (B) any act which is indictable under any of the following provisions of title 18, United States Code: Section 201 (relating to bribery), section 224 (relating to sports bribery), sections 471, 472, and 473 (relating to counterfeiting), section 659 (relating to theft from interstate shipment) if the act indictable under section 659 is felonious, section 664 (relating to embezzlement from pension and welfare funds), sections 891–894 (relating to extortionate credit transactions), section 1028 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents), section 1029 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices), section 1084 (relating to the transmission of gambling information), section 1341 (relating to mail fraud), section 1343 (relating to wire fraud)………

Following the link to Wire Fraud, a predicate act under this statute reveals the following:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

You know folks, depending on how you look at the Ashley Madison hack, I could see an argument for the Impact Team being considered whistle blowers if the above is true.  Maybe the FBI needs to divide its Ashley Madison hack investigation in two and explore whether websites like Ashley Madison are a modern day version of a lonely heart scam that used to be perpetrated by old fashioned snail mail back in the day. Continue reading “The Irony of Avid Life Media passing legal threats on the internet is delicious”

Jim Letten resignation fallout: “Hold on to your wallets. The crime families are back in business”

“Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility!
Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate!
Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness!”
~ C. JoyBell C.

“Arrogance diminishes wisdom” ~ Arabian proverb

OK folks I know some of y’all must be scratching your heads at the post title and my choice of quotes that frame this post but bear with me.  First off for all my peeps in the TeeVee media I watched most of the coverage last night.  Lee Zurik over at Fox 8 and Chick Foret at Channel 4 get attaboys, Zurik because it looks like he is trying to think outside the box on Letten’s replacement and Chick Foret for his brutal, yet accurate assessment of how the axe came down on Jim Letten.  I viewed this as a business decision and once people began to say, accurately IMHO, that Letten did not know about the online activities of Jan Mann, Sal Perricone and a rumored 2 other DoJ employees such was a clear sign he was a figurative dead man walking.  And while I’m certain feelings are running high at Team Letten right now I think Mr. Letten would be the first person to say that entering the chop shop is the proper last act in these circumstances.

So if Letten is penitent then we must look elsewhere for the arrogance so now we examine a small snippet from Gordon Russell and John Simerman’s comprehensive Jim Letten resignation story for NOLA.com:

Because of civil service protection afforded to federal prosecutors, neither Letten nor his superiors was likely able to fire Mann immediately, according to lawyers familiar with federal rules. “If she wants to hunker down, she can,” said former U.S. Attorney Harry Rosenberg. “He cannot summarily fire her.”

This is a clear reference to the local rumor mill on Mann. Unlike Sal Perricone, who fell on his sword quickly, Jan Mann stayed on refusing to resign until yesterday when the issue was forced via the forced resignation of her boss. Rumor holds the big guy himself asked Mann to man up and leave. The same rumor said Mann made like Nancy Reagan and just said no.  If that is true and I think there is at least a kernel of truth in the rumor so everyone should now understand the lead off quotes I chose this morning.

This brings me to former US Attorney Harry Rosenberg’s last quote in the story I linked above: Continue reading “Jim Letten resignation fallout: “Hold on to your wallets. The crime families are back in business””