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BRAVE contracts tied to mayor's administration suspended

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BATON ROUGE – Nine contracts associated with the BRAVE program have been suspended, WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto has learned.

The contracts in question are tied to controversial deals made with Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's administration. The contracts are part of a group that have been questioned since contract values are under amounts that don't require metro council approval. The issue was the focus of a WBRZ Investigative Unit report on Monday.

At least one of the contracts in question was given to a person on the mayor's transition team after she won the mayoral election last year. Cleve Dunn Jr's business received a contract for transportation totaling $17,500. He said so far he has not received a penny of that money.

"I don't think this was a political favor, this was about Runner's Courrier Service, and the service we provide," Dunn said.

District Attorney Hillar Moore said BRAVE's Core Committee was unaware that many of the contracts existed. 

"The question has to be, did even the mayor know that these six contracts were given to these people on whatever terms?" Moore questioned. "That's something people should be concerned about."

Dunn said contrary to what Moore said about not knowing about the deal, the district attorney was on an email concerning the contract.  The email, though, WBRZ learned insinuates the contract was supposed to go before the Metro Council for discussion but that never happened.

The specific contracts suspended have not been released.

Any future contracts will have to be reviewed and approved by the mayor and authorized by her or the city's chief administrative officer.  

Instead of a TV interview, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome released a statement through a spokesperson late Tuesday afternoon: "All BRAVE contracts from Mid-June through July have been suspended pending review. That is nine total. That includes any that have been submitted and finished work for payment. Vendors are still being contacted."

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