Mayor blames the news for town's negative financial audit
WHITE CASTLE- A scathing report released by auditors hired by the Town of White Castle details a host of problems the town needs to fix immediately.
Some of the problems have been highlighted in reports from the WBRZ Investigative Unit over the past year.
We tried to get Mayor Jermarr Williams to respond to our questions regarding the audit. Town Clerk Monica Hamilton read a text message from her phone instead.
"You are the one that built this bridge, and you don't state facts," Hamilton read from her phone. "You want your story to sabotage black leadership."
Our prior reports were backed up by the auditors' findings. In March, Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto was arrested for trespassing in the lobby of City Hall when he went to ask questions about vehicle mileage reimbursements Mayor Williams received. Tonight, auditors say the reimbursements were a no-no. The audit cites vehicle mileage paid to the Mayor totaling $3,500 as reimbursement for mileage approximately 6,300 miles purportedly for business. The reimbursements were approved by himself or by himself and a subordinate. The audit suggests Mayor Williams may need to pay restitution.
Another problem, pay raises for the Mayor and Police Chief Mario Brown. We've reported extensively on the Mayor's raise and even asked him about it. Auditors found his compensation levels were not in compliance.
People familiar with town business said this is one of the worst audits in White Castle in years.
In addition to the raise and mileage Williams shouldn't have received, auditors found the Town was over billing gas customers by approximately $90,000. Now, the overall utility operation is financially jeopardized the audit said.
Long time resident Linda Hasten is fuming.
"The town needs new administration right away," Hasten said. "As soon as possible."
Hasten had her utilities shut off for not paying her bill. Auditors found the mayor, a council member, and two high ranking employees didn't pay on time. Enforcement measures such as cut off of water and gas services were not consistently applied to them.
The audit also says the town violated the law by not submitting the audit in time. Auditors say charges were made on the town credit card to purchase name brand Polo clothing at a store in Louisiana and Nevada.
If you would like to read the full audit, click here.