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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Mystery Police Grant Money Approvals by City Council

Maybe part of the reason the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is fighting so hard to stop release of financial information is the uncovering of some items in their Department of Justice projects.  The DOJ has very strict rules on what money can be spent, how it must be approved in advance and more.  Council and the Mayor also won't release the information or answer questions.

CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe and his Public Affairs Captain Brian Cunningham, as well as City Manager Curt Walton, City Council, and Mayor Foxx have refused to answer whether the item Council voted through last Monday August 22nd labeled agenda item 22, “Upfit” for the Command Center was actually one in the same with the with the item that is listed under the US Dept. of Justice "HQ Workspace Renovation" item on CMPD's projects which shows $600,000 in approved funds, with a balance remaining of $38,976.93 and an outstanding encumbrance of $55,797.92 as of May 16, 2011? 

If it’s not the same item, it’s a remarkable coincidence in similarity of numbers and location for projects of Department of Justice Funds to be spent.  If it is the same money, there would be a big problem:  Federal law calls for approval of that money BEFORE it is spent, but the balance sheet clearly shows that the money is already out… 

Maybe that explains the relative silence and total lack of discussion at the City Council Meeting.

Maybe that explains the denial of Public Records requests regarding explanation for that agenda item.

Maybe that explains Michael Barnes refusal to explain what his “concerns” were and how they were “resolved” before he recommended the consent vote of this item.

Maybe it’s a completely different $600K spent on renovations at Police HQ, just months ago.  Citynewswatch would really like to know—and would like to know the reason for the secrecy surrounding both projects.

Asset & Forfeiture money—Funds which primarily come from seizures from illegal actions such as drug transactions and similar activity--is used to help law enforcement agencies in specific ways.  There are any number of items in the DOJ Asset & Forfeiture project money (that has been identified) in the CMPD which seem possibly to violate stated DOJ rules for such money, though it is unsure since CMPD refuses to answer any questions about the details of the project categories (Chief Monroe’s “Project Pool” and some other large disappearing amounts are among the other questions submitted).

City Council, Mayor Foxx, please explain what you have approved.

Taxpayers deserve to know.

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