Light at the End of the Tunnel: Truth Will Prevail

This has been one heck of a week. Everyone is wondering how the City of Lumberton can pay the $625,000 needed for the matching funds portion of the $2.5 million dollar Army Corp of Engineers grant. Well, the explanation provided by Mayor Ben Winston has changed drastically over the past week. Allegedly, Winston, McGraw, C. Rogers and witness Kathleen Bogle went to Vicksburg, MS to sign paperwork for the grant but the story unravels after that point. In an interview with WDAM, it was said that the Army Corp of Engineers wouldn't sign the contract if Lumberton didn't present a plan showing they had the money. Again, the stories change frequently whenever the matching funds are discussed. One attempt to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to the news station and citizens of Lumberton included a story about a CAP loan. At the meeting with the Lamar County Board of Supervisors, Winston said the matching funds were not secured, the next day Winston reported at the regular scheduled board meeting that the city was approved for the CAP loan and work on the grant was slated to begin in September, the day after that, News 7 interviewed Winston about his requst for a donation from the Lamar County Board of Supervisors to help pay the matching funds and Winston then said he was joking and instead of getting the CAP loan, Lumberton was approved to apply for the CAP loan. Either way you cut this story we're served a slice of lies.

In the most recent news story, the details changed again like a mood ring. Now it seems, contrary to other reports, Winston allegedly had a conversation with Tracey Giles of the MDA and was told that one grant could not be used to pay the matching funds needed for another grant. Oh yeah, somewhere along the trail of this ever evolving story, Winston said Giles allegedly told him, in another private conversation, he could use the $450,000 sewer improvement grant to pay part of the matching funds needed for the $2.5 million dollar Army Corp of Engineers grant. If you believe that story, I have an island for sale; you can change the name from Hawaii and give it any name you choose after you deposit the money in my Swiss Bank account. In the midst of all these stories, nothing is spread across the minutes authorizing Winston to apply for a CAP loan or to sign a contract with the Army Corp of Engineers. But there wasn't anything in the minutes approving the hiring of Richard Rose to prepare the FY2015 budget. As you know, he was in the office, with full, unfettered access to all our records and financial information without official board approval or the benefit of being bonded. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't a USM intern and a citizen prohibited from working in the office because of bonding issues? Here's another problem. Richard Rose had access to all our records/finances but if a citizen wants a print out of their water bill, a copy of the budget or want to review the minute books, they must submit a written request and in some cases, wait for an appointment to review public records in a locked room where one deputy clerk alleges there's only one key. But Richard Rose gets paid with all access. Maybe citizens should do a telephone poll for an all access pass; it worked for Richard.

Just the other day, Winston was angry that I posted pictures of the patrol car he borrowed from Lamar County after he allegedly denied approval for repair of one of Lumberton's patrol cars. I'm thankful that Sheriff Riegel loaned us the car but how is it going to help. It has no radar because it's a County vehicle and there's no backseat so it can't be used for transport. How much would it cost to repair Lumberton's patrol car? I'm not certain but as the mayor, Ben Winston has the authority to have a check cut for up to $1,500 without board approval. Instead of making an executive decision, he decided to go out and beg for a loaner car like he was begging the County to take over Lumberton's police department and like he was begging for a donation to help with the matching funds. At several meetings, Winston said he's not too proud to beg. Well, he should be because dogs beg not men. He has the authority to do something about the repair of the police car but his hand me down mentality won't allow him to make tough decisions. That's definitely not the characteristics of a leader.

Everytime Lumberton need something, Winston wants someone else's leftovers or he want citizens to volunteer. Why do you collect taxes if you're not going to provide essential services? Why should a citizen go pick up paper or mow the park and/or medians in front of their house then come to the board meetings to tell you what they've done? Do you think that cheap certificate and a photo in the paper as "Citizen of the Month" is going to free up money in tne budget or is this another one of the tricks you use in an attempt to garner support? Please don't misconstrue this as an indictment against those selected; I'm sure they deserve recognition but I know Ben is using them for political brownie points. What was I saying? Oh yeah! When Richard Jefferson, Michael Holder, and the late Perry McLemore worked for the Public Works Department, Main Street, the parks and all the cemeteries were well manicured. Ben touted how getting rid of the garbage truck would free up so much money but now the streets, parks and cemeteries look tattered and unkept. Care to explain why? People pay taxes so these services are handled and if you're not collecting enough revenue to cover street maitenance, police protection, police cars, pay raises and equipment, then you need to raise the millege rate. Oh, but that would affect you personally Mr. Winston because you're only able to get a tax exemption on one property. So I see why you didn't adhere to the advice of the Supervisors; you're guarding your pockets not the citizens.

Let me close this post because it's getting rather lengthy. I'm going into stealth mode. I've been giving too many details about my next move but things are coming together and the next time I show my hand, all the pieces will be in place. I would like to offer an olive branch to the board members. It's not too late to do the right thing but you need to start your paper trail now. If you're a witness to violations of open meeting laws, hiring of people without board minutes to support the action, overextending the budget without amending the budget, participating in signing of contracts that were not board approved or applying for loans not authorized by the board and you didn't contact the Attorney General or the Secretary of State then you're just as guilty. Don't wait until it's too late. To the readers of the blog, if you have any tips, leads, etc. don't hesitate to give me a call, a text or inbox me. I want the details, not your name. Also, keep an eye out for the posting of these special called meetings. They don't want us to know but the public has a right to know what's going on at city hall. This is OUR city and it's time to take back what the devil has stolen from us. It's time to get on board or get out of the way. What's coming next is going to be tantamount to stomping the head of the serpent. The enemy is under our feet. We are Lumberton! Together, we cannot be stopped. On this day, Ben Winston and his minions are served notice. The citizens of this town will no longer sit back and let wickedness rule. For we wrestle not against flesh and nlood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) Prepare for Glory! (In my King Leonidas voice from the 300).

Comments

  1. Just wanted you to know you're appreciated. I really wish you were at city hall because we know you're for fairness and truth. Thank you for all you do!

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  2. You're the greatest asset to this city but they want to make you the bad guy for exposing the truth. Like it or not you have an audience and instead of using your talents they try to tear you down but guess what it's not working. Keep digging the truth is not far away and I can't wait until they're exposed.

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  3. I saw a report about the school board meeting. You should attend those meetings too. There's a lot going on that's not getting reported. I noticed that Golden Boy Kody Lancaster was granted an emergency teacher certification because they want him coaching the baseball team. I tried to get emergency certification and they told me to apply for a substitute teacher position and I have a Master's in History. I guess it's all about who you know. That's one problem with having a Showchoir Director as Superintendent.

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