Greensburg Mayor quits amid WBRZ Investigative Unit report
GREENSBURG- The longtime Mayor in the Town of Greensburg resigned amid a report that aired Thursday on WBRZ-TV.
The Investigative Unit uncovered he has been living in a completely different parish than the town he represents. An ordinance on the books in the town mandates, "The Mayor of the Town of Greensburg shall continue to be legally domiciled in and shall actually reside within the Town of Greensburg."
But, for the past three years, Burke Jones has been catching tax breaks at a home in Clinton. It's where he claims a homestead exemption.
It has residents like Gwendolyn Coates and Thomas Crosby irritated.
"All public officials should follow the rules like I have to follow the rules," Crosby said. "That's the bottom line."
Around 7 a.m., we tracked down Burke Jones leaving to go to work from his house in a different parish. We asked what made him leave St. Helena.
"Geez, have you been there?" Jones responded.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit found even though Jones moved three years ago, he's still actively registered to vote in St. Helena Parish. He uses a house assessed to the police chief, according to state records.
Records filed with the Assessor in neighboring East Feliciana Parish show Jones has lived in the home in Clinton since October of 2013. According to Jones, he doesn't hide the fact that he doesn't live in the town he represents. But, Jones believes he is not breaking any laws despite us showing him the one that's on the books. Jones claims when he moved three years ago, he offered to resign, but it was Mayor Pro-Tem Willie Hurst who talked him in to staying in office. Jones couldn't recall telling the town council about this conflict during any open meetings.
"I told them I bought the house," Jones said. "I don't know if I told them in an official manner, I bought the house in a meeting, but everybody knows where I'm living it's no secret."
While we were in town, many residents were upset about what we uncovered and how Jones doesn't live there.
"He's supposed to be looking out for my well being, not Clinton's well being," Crosby said. "That's East Feliciana Parish. I live in St. Helena Parish."
"I think he should step down and let the citizens know he made a mistake," Coates said.
Tonight, those residents wishes are coming true. Tuesday evening, Jones sent a letter to the Investigative Unit resigning his post.
"Because of the controversy and uproar that has suddenly occurred, I have resigned my position as Mayor of the Town of Greensburg, effective June 2, 2016."
The letter Jones sent us said he wanted to resign immediately, but is staying on for a couple of weeks to allow the next administration to take over. Jones was supposed to stay in office through the end of the year. A new mayor was elected in March.