State Attorney’s Investigation Continues In Century; Mayor Seeks To Quiet Council President

September 11, 2018

The State Attorney’s Office inquiry into actions by the Town of Century is continuing, and the mayor is seeking to stop the town council president from talking to others on behalf of the town, according a letter from the mayor.

The letter was distributed to council members at a 5 p.m. budget meeting Monday afternoon. Hawkins attended the 5 p.m. meeting but did not attend a regular council meeting at 7 p.m. The letter was not publicly discussed at either meeting.

Hawkins began the letter with an apparent quote of an email from town attorney Matt Dannheisser.

Dannheisser stated he had spoken to Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille and answered questions concerning possible improprieties regarding the town’s payment of employee wages without sufficient funds in the town’s bank account, possible ethical issues concerning loans to, or failure to replay loans by, current or past members of the town council and possible Sunshine Law violations over a recent meeting with the town’s auditor at which one or more council members may have been present.

The attorney said he has not been asked by the town to provide any legal services, and “other than what has been printed in the media, I am not aware of any particular information” on the insufficient fund and loan issues. NorthEscambia.com has reported on each item questioned.

As for the audit meeting, Dannheisser said he “relayed the substance of the  information that I received from (the auditor) as well as my general understanding of the situation”.

“I do not know that there is any action that you need to take at this time; rather I simply wanted you to be aware that the State Attorney’s office is apparently looking into matters involving the Town of Century,” Dannheisser said, according to the mayor’s letter to the council..

On July 25, NorthEscambia.com reported that the council approved a $12,000 loan refinance for council member Sandra McMurray-Jackson, but few details were provided on the loan program. NorthEscambia.com public records requests for loan documentation has gone partially unanswered since July.

On July 27, we reported that Town of Century wrote 41 payroll checks without funds to cover them and missed legally required payroll deposits with the IRS, according to statements by town council President Ann Brooks. [Read story...]

On August 7, NorthEscambia.com first reported that the State Attorney’s Office was reviewing items involving the town of Century. Three council members reportedly attended at least some portion of a closed door meeting with CPA Robert Hudson, Town Clerk Kim Godwin and the town’s auditors. The meeting was not advertised as a public meeting, which would forbid more than one council member from taking part under Florida’s Sunshine Laws.

After the conclusion of the apparent copy of text of Dannheisser’s email, the mayor’s letter continued with concerns about the actions of Council President Ann Brooks.

(Story continues below image, scroll down)

The Mayor’s Problem With The Council President On TV

“Who gave Ms. Brooks the authorization to represent the town via TV or any other public broadcast without Council approval,” Hawkins wrote in his letter presented Monday.

In a WEAR 3 followup to a NorthEscambia.com story, Brooks told the TV station that she learned about the town’s financial problems through public records. She told WEAR in an on-camera interview that “We need to tighten our belts and we need to cut expenses but instead we have department heads asking for more…We have a gas department that is losing money and is bleeding.”

WEAR 3 and NorthEscambia.com are media partners, often sharing news, photos and videos. WEAR 3 and NorthEcambia.com do not share ownership.

In a story about a week later about the State Attorney’s Office review of financial matters and possible Sunshine Law violations in Century, Hawkins blamed problems on the fact that he is black and poor spending by the town council.

“Bottom line now is, you can put on record or off the record I don’t care, bottom line now is that’s a black man taking care of business,” Hawkins said in a recorded interview with WEAR 3 in August.

The Mayor’s Problem With The Council President Talking To The Town Attorney

“Ms. Brooks has made numerous requests to Mr. Dannheisser concerning several issues, some which should have been directed through me, thus costing the Town $720.00,” Hawkins wrote.

The Mayor’s Concerns About The Council President Providing Other Info

In his letter Monday, Hawkins said Brooks had provided information about the gas department to a consultant.

“My concern again is who directed Ms. Brooks to provide any information to anyone without our staff being made aware of it,” he wrote.

Mayor: Hold Others Responsible

Hawkins requested, via his letter, than the town “hold everyone in check as to what they do for this Town. If the Council has not given Ms. Brooks the authorization to by pass [SIC} me and take matters into her own hands without the knowledge of the Town or our staff then I think that it’s fair that we do no pay any unauthorized charges due, we hold the responsible person(s) responsible and that we do not act on the behalf of the Town without consent from the Town and the knowledge of the Mayor. I need this in a motion (please)”.

The council did not discuss or take any action on the mayor’s letter.

NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.


Comments

31 Responses to “State Attorney’s Investigation Continues In Century; Mayor Seeks To Quiet Council President”

  1. David on September 14th, 2018 11:39 pm

    Everyone should watch “All The Queens Horses”. .it’s a documentary about someone that embezzled over 53 million dollars from the city of Dixson Ill…yall better be ckecking where the money went..

  2. David on September 12th, 2018 3:16 pm

    The mayor and the council are parasites..feeding off the good and honest people of Century.

  3. Me on September 12th, 2018 9:10 am

    They need to clean house and start with new people. Reading about the town of Century is like a bad reality show. Too much mess and unnecessary drama!

  4. David on September 12th, 2018 6:36 am

    Does the mayor actually believe anything he says… the legal actions will take care of all the back door games finally. .and years too late

  5. King of Century on September 11th, 2018 9:31 pm

    Hawkins that is absurd. What do you think can put a gag order on some one.You should encourage them to be individual. It seems like the mentality is still Company boss, Tribal chief or Plantation and you think you’re the massa.. You ain’t. Ret staff Sgt is telling of itself..

  6. sam on September 11th, 2018 7:23 pm

    you had to know the mayor would pull out the race card sooner or later. it’s not race it’s poor management of city funds or should i say spending money the city doesn’t have.

  7. 2 cents on September 11th, 2018 5:16 pm

    Hope Ann don’t run for Mayor. She will not make a good one be hard to work with.

  8. Citizen on September 11th, 2018 4:06 pm

    Good Going The Honorable Mayor Brooks!!

  9. Oddball on September 11th, 2018 3:34 pm

    The mayor and Council are hell when they’re well.

    They just been a little ILL lately.

  10. chris on September 11th, 2018 3:14 pm

    Imagine the prospective business owners, considering where to locate, reading these antics. Then consider why Century cannot attract/retain very many new and prosperous businesses.

  11. Tom on September 11th, 2018 2:14 pm

    Get rid of every single one of them, don’t keep not one of them! and don’t hire their friends that are running either. This town council is just ridiculous. Start with the mayor, then Ann, then the rest and start from scratch. We will all miss this comic section of Northescambia.com though.

  12. David Huie Green on September 11th, 2018 1:20 pm

    The mayor asked the Town Council to order one of its members to be silent. The council declined.

    Now you know a little better how each thinks.

    David for Truth

  13. Circus on September 11th, 2018 12:55 pm

    I LOVE THE CIRCUS. Do you think they would object if I showed up with popcorn and a ice cold Coca-Cola. I can’t sit in the front row because Clowns scare me.

    “Black man taking care of Business” I should make a t’shirt with that saying on the back for the mayor. Even better all of the council needs one. Can everyone send me their sizes.

    Man I am full of good ides today.

  14. Michelle D. on September 11th, 2018 12:24 pm

    Oh, Mr. Mayor, before you cast the first stone…. Sound familiar? Before you check in someone else’s backyard check your own first! I can feel a long meeting coming next week!
    Thank you William for keeping us informed on all this.

  15. anne 1of2 on September 11th, 2018 12:12 pm

    The Race Card killed a lot of respect for the man.

  16. chris on September 11th, 2018 11:41 am

    “hold the responsible person(s) responsible” Sounds like Century’s mayor needs to get a grip. On himself.

  17. Chelleepea on September 11th, 2018 11:19 am

    The gist of what some posters on here are saying is that since the mayor did unauthorized things the president of the council should be able to, too?

    Wrong is wrong even if you like the person. If Ms. Brooks went to the lawyer because of town business everybody should have been aware of it.

    Undoubtedly, Ms. Brooks felt the need to consult with tge lawyer about important matters that was hard for her to speak about in public but as a public figure you have to bite the bullet sometimes and endure the consequences. If truth is on Ms. Brooks side than it will work out.

    “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

  18. chris on September 11th, 2018 11:06 am

    Century: now offering classes on deflection.

  19. Bubba Blogger on September 11th, 2018 10:31 am

    Ann Brooks for Mayor!

  20. nod on September 11th, 2018 9:53 am

    doing things without permission and going behind peoples backs to do things. is the mayor talking about himself? then he should be paying out of his pocket for a bunch of unauthorized things.

  21. Local person on September 11th, 2018 9:42 am

    “The mayor said he was told by Baker that the local legislative delegation would not consider a bill without the full unanimous support of the council.”

    Since Mr. Adkinson voted his values and cast a dissenting vote, that, based upon the mayor’s statement, he prevented a bill from behind sponsored which will prevent Sunday sales. Therefore his values jeopardize Sunday sales.

  22. David on September 11th, 2018 9:08 am

    Starting to look more like Prichard every day.
    And this mayor wants to throw in the old Race card because thing are starting to get HOT…lol…I will pay the $720 for her as long as she keeps uncovering the rats to the people of Century.

  23. fisherman on September 11th, 2018 9:05 am

    Hey Mr. Mayor
    Great idea to make individuals pay for something you or council didn’t approve. I guess you will be paying for everything you spend when council doesn’t approve also. Be careful what you ask for.

  24. chris on September 11th, 2018 8:25 am

    The train is about to derail.

  25. Bowhunter on September 11th, 2018 8:14 am

    Ms. Brooks May Have Over Stepped Her Duties , However If The Mayor And Town Clerk Were Not Going To Tell The Council About The Payroll Check’s Then Who Was . I Don’t Live In Century But I Will Donate Money To Ms. Brooks If She Has To Pay $720.00 .

  26. M in Bratt on September 11th, 2018 8:06 am

    I can’t imagine the town charter or any other law or document giving the Mayor the authority to “GAG” council members he doesn’t agree with. Now, if you look at the “Sunshine” law, you will see that ANY communication between council members, or council members and the Mayor in any other forum than public meetings is probably a blatant violation of the law. I would guess that a whole lot of that is going on.

  27. tg on September 11th, 2018 7:58 am

    The clock is ticking on this time bomb.

  28. Ellenb123 on September 11th, 2018 6:29 am

    Kudos to Ann Brooks, she don’t play! Hawkins is a joke!

  29. JLB on September 11th, 2018 5:50 am

    When all else fail, throw in the race card! Good one Mayor, not only is that mature but original!

  30. Citizen on September 11th, 2018 3:51 am

    Didn’t the mayor bypass the council and disregard the town charter by hiring employees that the council knew nothing about. He is the Barney Fyfe of politics. He didn’t do a audit of the town finances, the town equipment or review the personnel on payroll when he first rook office. He buys new trucks but don’t a bidding process to see who has the best deal, he wants her to follow made up rules while he breaks rules that are already in place.

  31. Stumpknocker on September 11th, 2018 3:00 am

    I think the mayor would do much better if he stopped playing the race card and understand that all the responsibility lies on his shoulders, no matter what color or gender. If race is a factor then race would have to be included with why he was elected. Electing anyone because of their race or gender undermines their ability to do the job before they even take office.I don’t care what color or gender a person is I look at the best candidate for the job and so far no democrats have met the bill. It would be nice if the citizens would come together and offer their expertise in some of these matters and do it because it’s their town. I’ve met some really smart people in Century it’s just a shame the knowledge doesn’t get past along. And the town Council as well as the mayor should be seeking out advice from other small successful towns and maybe model themselves from what they learn. Yes some of this would be giving away some of your time, but if Century is going to make it , it will take just that. I myself would be there helping but do to my position it would cause a legal conflict.





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