FBI in town to discuss City of Pascagoula $14M budget crisis

Updated: Jul. 31, 2018 at 5:37 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation met with Pascagoula Mayor Dane Maxwell Tuesday morning to discuss the city's multi-million-dollar budget deficit.

"The FBI is going to look and see if there's any concern that they have it in. At this point my job is to just let them have it," the mayor said.

Mayor Maxwell said Tuesday's meeting was a quick one. Timelines were discussed, and the FBI got the paperwork they needed and left.

This comes after Mayor Maxwell revealed last week the city is facing a $14 million budget deficit, and that the city and state are reviewing spending from 2012-2017. The city has already turned over financial records to the State Auditor.

"The misconception out there in the social media world is that we should have known this coming in," the mayor said.

Maxwell took office in July. The budget had to be adopted by October. He said the city passed a budget based on the current numbers.

"We took the numbers to be true," he said.

Over time, the mayor said things didn't add up.

"We saw a couple of things that sparked our interest. We couldn't get the reports back," he said. "We called for a forensic audit... and that timeline is there. It's pretty simple. It's not complicated. It's not some big conspiracy that you're hearing out there," he said.

Mayor Maxwell said there's no way the current administration could have spent that much money in one year.

"It's just ridiculous to push blame on us because we're here," he added.

Now it's up to the state and FBI to investigate.

"I'm past it. We've done all that we can do. We discovered it. We checked it. We paid for a forensic audit to make sure that it was what we suspected. It was. Now it turns it over to the authorities and let them do their job," the mayor said.

Mayor Maxwell said last week and again Tuesday that he would do whatever is necessary to get the city back in black. He confirms that includes forfeiting salaries, which he and two council members have already done.

There are three items on Tuesday's City Council meeting agenda that include the budget. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

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