You Thought You Got Away But There's More
In the letter dated June 15, 2015, there's a outline explaining how the City of Lumberton plans on obtaining the $641,375.00 needed for the non-federal share (25%) required to secure the grant. According to the letter the money will be obtained from the following sources: ● Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) CAP Loan, ● Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) Revolving Loan Fund, ● South Mississippi Planning & Development District, ● MDA Small Municipalities and Limited Population Counties Grant Program, ● MDA Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Public Facilities Grant Program and ● Local funds as needed.
The second letter, dated July 29, 2015 is probably the letter Mayor Ben Winston, Alderwoman at Large Cora Rogers, Alderman Jay McGraw and Mrs. Kathleen Bogle drove to Vicksburg, MS when they signed the contract to secure the grant. In the second letter, it is implied that the funding has been secured and will come from the General Fund. Based on the various interviews and statements made at the board meeting, it's clear that the funds have not been secured. There was never a vote regarding a CAP loan and it's not spread across the minutes. Now this is just my opinion but it seems like Ben Winston is attempting to defraud the federal government and those aiding him could be viewed as co-conspirators in the alleged act of fraud. There's so many red flags surrounding this paperwork, including but not limited to the fact that most of the sources listed above are not included in the City of Lumberton's minutes and copies of budget line items showing the deposits of the various loans/grants and the transfers of the funds into the general fund. Oh wait, grant money can't be deposited into an interest bearing account and the general fund is an interest bearing account. So I think we're about to hear another version of the events. I also find it troubling that there were no minutes submitted to the Army Corp of Engineers showing the votes taken to secure the loans and grants that are being earmarked for this $2.5 million dollar project. Prehaps it wasn't required but in a matter involving this many money transfers and such a large sum of money, one would think extra steps would be taken to make sure all the I's are dotted and every T is crossed. I'm still working to see what else is going on but I will look at this later. In a few minutes, I'll be on air with SuperTalk Mississippi 97.3 discussing the Lumberton Informer and the jackassery of Lumberton politics. I hope you tune in and I will chat with you later after I study these documents more closely.