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Mayor releases details on suspended city contracts

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BATON ROUGE - A report issued by the mayor's office late Monday on BRAVE grant funding attempts to demonstrate that the problems in the project started before she took office.

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome asked for the analysis after she had to suspend several contracts in the wake of one of the contractors suggesting at a Metro Council meeting that the ambush murder of three law enforcement officers a year ago was "justice."

Contracts -- including the one for Arthur "Silky Slim" Reed -- were initially highlighted in a post by The Hayride following research done by Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso. Amoroso told reporters he was concerned about how contracts were handled – especially with contract amounts less than the minimum for council approval.

The mayor's report Monday said $1.6 million in grant funds had been frozen in February because progress reports had not been submitted. After a phone conference between the federal agency managing the grant and Broome's assistant chief administrative officer, it appeared unlikely that the grant would be extended.

The project was only serving eight clients at the time, Broome's report said.

Still, the mayor's office tried to find ways to win back the use of the already granted funds and to extend the grant's contract. The funds were unfrozen but the contract was not extended.

The office claims that it conferred with the managing federal agency before using the remaining the funds to make contracts that would address several perceived shortcomings of the program in its current state. These improvements reportedly entailed using funds for community programming related to the arts, sports, and other activities. 

The mayor's office insisted that all contracts were consistent with the program's goals.

"All of the Professional Service Agreements entered into by the OM align with the goals and strategies identified in the approved BRAVE program narrative," the report stated.

The report released Monday also referenced additional paperwork which was not included in the emailed report.

The reports states the services and compensation, excluding the canceled contract for Arthur Reed, were as follows:
  • Todd Sterling of Alpha Media and Public Relations was contracted to provide audio/visual seminars for trauma training. In addition, public relations tools were to be developed. ($9,950)

  • Joseph Hines was contracted to provide a four-week summer program to improves youth’s capacity for leadership, business, and entrepreneurship through self-discovery in the arts. Health, wellness, and art exposure were also to be provided. ($9,600) 

  • Walter McLaughlin was contracted to provide a four week creative arts program that targeted mentorship, event production, talent development, and community outreach. ($9,800)

  • Donney Rose was contracted to provide a four week creative arts program for teenagers that targeted mentorship, poetry workshops, performance coaching, and improvisation techniques. ($7,600)

  • Desiree Bewley was contracted to provide a four week creative arts program for teenagers that targeted mentorship, poetry workshops, performance coaching, and improvisation techniques. ($7,600)

  • Chancelier Skidmore was contracted to provide a four week creative arts program for teenagers that targeted mentorship, poetry workshops, performance coaching, and improvisation techniques. ($7,600)

  • Christopher Patrick Turner was contracted to provide a four-week summer program to improves youth’s capacity for leadership, business, and entrepreneurship through self-discovery in the arts. Health, wellness, and art exposure were also to be provided. ($9,600)

  • New Hope Outreach Ministries was contracted to assess, evaluate and counsel those suffering addition, abuse, and related mental health issues. Job readiness, retention, parenting skills, and case management were also in their realm of duties. ($17,000)

  • Pink Blossom Alliance was contracted to perform community outreach events in an effort to expose young women to professional women in their community, exposing them to careers in STEM , social services, criminal justice, etc. ($9,900)

  • Isaiah Marshall was contracted to serve as a facilitator/ host of community sporting events to cultivate community and establish skills that sports enhance such as teamwork, responsibility leadership, and pride. ($9,500)

  • Zuri Sanchez was contracted to serve as a facilitator/ host of community sporting events to cultivate community and establish skills that sports enhance such as teamwork, responsibility leadership, and pride. ($9,500)

  • Runner’s Courier Services was contracted to provide transportation services to BRAVE program participants to court appearances, medical, and social service appointments.  ($17,500)

  • Willie Payne was contracted to provide employment and skills training in the field of cosmetology, barbering, and hair styling to BRAVE participants.  ($9,900)

  • Elm Grove Church was contracted to provide a summer youth academy focused on youth violence reduction and prevention. They agreed to utilize the curriculum designed and provided by the City-Parish. ($16,000)

  • Joseph Bean was contracted to serve as a facilitator/ host of community sporting events to cultivate community and establish skills that sports enhance such as teamwork, responsibility leadership, and pride. ($9,500)

Read the FULL report HERE.

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