Breaking News: Ben Winston Got Some 'Splainin To Do
Let's review the various stories presented and maybe you can help us decide which version is the truth. If memory serves me correctly, at the July 7, 2015 regular board meeting, you, Ben Winston, told the citizens that the funds for the matching fund portion of the grant was secured and we were approved for a CAP loan. Well, a few days later, WDAM reported that you attended the monthly meeting of the Lamar County Board of Supervisors one day prior to the City of Lumberton's regular board meeting, asking if they could "donate" some money towards the matching funds needed for the sewer improvement grant. Well, after you discovered that WDAM had recorded you cooning for coins....again....you changed up your story and said you were joking about the donation. But wait, the story does not end there. Apparently, via a private conversation with Tracey Giles, you were allegedly told you could use the funds from the $450,000 grant to repair the lagoon and use it to pay towards the $641,375.00 needed for the matching funds. Well, that story also changed. You later recanted that story and said, in another private conversation that you allegedly had with Tracey Giles, that one grant cannot be used to help secure another grant. After the new version of the story failed to fly, Winston tried to give his story new wings. This time, he went back to the CAP loan, saying tne City of Lumberton was approved for a loan to secure the grant. Keep in mind that Lumberton couldn't secure a $20,000 loan from it's only local bank two years ago but somehow, they've managed to secure a $400,000 or $450,000 loan. But here's the truth, Lumberton was approved to APPLY for a CAP loan; we have not beem approved for a CAP loan. Another interesting fact is the letter shown above, the trip to Vicksburg, the approval to secure a loan on behalf of the City of Lumberton is not spread across the minutes. Despite the fact that I am not permitted to review the public records of Lumberton, I have a connection that's fighting for truth and transparency too. On July 14, 2015, WDAM ran another story about the ever changing details regarding the matching funds needed to secure the Army Corp of Engineers grant. In that interview, Mayor Winston and Alderman Jay McGraw said
"...the $2.5 million is not in jeopardy...the Corp wouldn't have approved the grant without proof of a plan for matching funds."So I guess that's the answer. According to Winston and McGraw, the letter is proof and they assert, in the letter, that the $641,3750 needed is in general fund. So, if that's true, they have jeopardized the safety and well being of the citizens of Lumberton by cutting the police department and claiming there's not enough money to keep the number of officers required by law.
Here's something else you may have missed. Look at the signature on the letter. It's signed Ben Winston, Mayor, City of Lumberton, Lamar and Pearl River Counties, Mississippi. Now, this is purely conjecture but work with me. I know the Church of the Way is located in Pearl River County but it's still a part of Lumberton. Well, guess what else crosses over into Pearl River County and it's adjacent to the Church of the Way? The land Ben Winston owns. Winston touted his plans for Lake Lumberton at his first board meeting as Mayor of Lumberton. In my opinion, I believe Ben Winston signed the letter as Mayor of Lumberton, Lamar and Pearl River Counties, Mississippi, because his plan has always been to use that grant money to develop his property. Ben Winston is not looking out for the City of Lumberton; he's looking for another way to fatten his pockets and he could care less about Lumberton's water and sewer lines. Ben Winston has been deceitful throughout this entire process and he thinks his dishonesty should be rewarded by voting for him in November. I think not. As Dr. Maya Angelou so eloquently stated, "when someone shows you who they are, believe them."