Public Records Requests For Airline Receipts Unanswered; Mayor Still Says County Approved Purchases

March 5, 2019

Update: NorthEscambia.com has received a partial response to our records requests referenced in this article. We are reviewing documentation and will publish an updated story soon.

Weeks after calling an Escambia County commissioner “a lie” over repayment for over $1,600 in airline travel, Century Mayor Henry Hawkins has yet to produce receipts for the tickets in response to requests from the town council president and NorthEscambia.com.

Hawkins told the town council in January that he spoke to Commissioner Steven Barry who promised reimbursement with county economic development funds. Barry denied the conversation ever took place with Hawkins or anyone else regarding airline tickets and reiterated that such an expenditure would require the approval of the entire county commission.

During a subsequent public meeting, Hawkins called Barry “a lie”. “Just like he called me a lie, I’ll call him a lie,” Hawkins said.

On January 8, NorthEscambia.com made a public records request for emails between the town and Barry related to travel or economic development funds, the airline invoices or receipts and reservation information. As of Monday, March 4, no response had been received.

Monday night, Council President Ann Brooks asked Hawkins why he has yet to respond to her request for the airline ticket receipts, and he said he had signed a confidentiality agreement with an unspecified party. He told Brooks he would “black out” information on the receipts and provide them.

“Mrs. Brooks, I told you before that I got the OK from the county,” the mayor said Monday night. “…I’m not going to rehash this again.”

“But I want the receipts,” Brooks responded.

“I’ll black them out and give them to you,” he said. He also told Reynolds during a council meeting that he would provide the information to NorthEscambia.com, but it would be redacted. Hawkins refused to answer questions about the legal justification for the proposed redactions.

The following charges for airlines or travel services appear on the bill list presented to the town council in December:

  • American Airlines $501.40
  • Delta Air Lines $366.90
  • Expedia $560.92
  • Frontier Airlines $214.90

The charges, according to the town’s bill list, were incurred in October.

Under the town’s charter, Hawkins is required to seek advance council approval for purchases in excess of $200.

Comments

27 Responses to “Public Records Requests For Airline Receipts Unanswered; Mayor Still Says County Approved Purchases”

  1. Rational on March 6th, 2019 4:58 pm

    Lock him up and the rest of the officials who are working together to drain Century of any monies available.

  2. William on March 5th, 2019 11:20 pm

    Update: NorthEscambia.com has received a partial response to our records requests referenced in this article. We are reviewing documentation and will publish an updated story soon.

  3. KDR on March 5th, 2019 10:54 pm

    Sounds to me like this city has had so much corruption, from many years of self serving administrations. its as if that no one feels the rules apply because no one really knows the rules.

  4. Shay on March 5th, 2019 7:32 pm

    @wendall

    No it is something knew that he added once people started asking for the names of the people that the tickets were for

  5. Shay on March 5th, 2019 5:15 pm

    What business wanting to do business with century is so important that they require a confidentiality agreement? Did anyone ever see the tickets? Were there even tickets or was this a way of the lead Clown just trying to pad his pockets?

  6. M in Bratt on March 5th, 2019 4:54 pm

    All of you seem to give some validity to this so called “Confidentiality” agreement. State Law says that ALL public records shall be open for public inspection. The Honorable Mayor cannot enter into any kind of agreement that is contrary to State Law or The Town Charter. I’d say the Mayor will soon reveal whom the tickets were bought for, or withdraw his request for reimbursement. If he doesn’t do it willingly, he will when he gets in front of a Judge. Hang in there Mayor, the Clown car will be by to pick you up in a little while.

  7. popcorn on March 5th, 2019 4:42 pm

    WHY did the AP department pay for the tickets or reimburse without an itemized receipt?

  8. wendell on March 5th, 2019 3:39 pm

    I do not remember hearing anything about a confidentiality agreement previously; is this a new development or did the mayor speak of one before?

  9. anne1of2 on March 5th, 2019 1:59 pm

    This can be cleaned up with receipts from the airlines and nothing blacked out on the information. Simple fix, or is it? If the mayor says he won’t rehash it again, he needs to resign today. The mayor doesn’t own the city, he works for it and is accountable to every citizen.

  10. chris on March 5th, 2019 1:51 pm

    I wonder if installing cameras at the shop at the Town of Century would have violated any confidentiality agreements?

  11. shay on March 5th, 2019 1:19 pm

    Someone needs to put this clown in his place and let him know how things are supposed to be done. He seems to think that he makes the rules.

  12. Bob on March 5th, 2019 1:17 pm

    When you get a personal loan from the Town of Century and your a council member are you required to sign a confidentiality agreement???

  13. chris on March 5th, 2019 12:44 pm

    “What in the world could be so important in Century, FL that requires a confidentiality agreement” Oh one could only imagine. Seems like a whole lot of stuff is being played close to the vest in that town.

  14. JF on March 5th, 2019 11:26 am

    The old saying that Many people rise to their highest level of incompetence rings true in Century, FL!

  15. Cindy on March 5th, 2019 10:58 am

    “…he had signed a confidentiality agreement with an unspecified party,”
    What in the world could be so important in Century, FL that requires a confidentiality agreement and redacting of receipts. This smells a lot like the stuff bulls make in the pasture.

  16. Brwildered on March 5th, 2019 9:33 am

    Saw a comment on Facebook regarding Washington, DC that fits this situation. “Nothing will happen because everyone is afraid that stirring up the mud will bring to light their own corruption and lies”.

  17. chris on March 5th, 2019 9:30 am

    What a joke, and a shame that this fool of an elected official hasn’t been recalled yet.

  18. Sam on March 5th, 2019 9:07 am

    This has gone on far too long. Someone from the county or state should step in and prosecute someone. I don’t pretend to know all the things that are corrupt, but something is wrong.

  19. fred on March 5th, 2019 8:50 am

    I don’t know if the mayor had a legal leg to stand on here. He doesn’t have a discretionary fund which he can just spend money with no accountability. If he persists in refusing disclosure, I would think it could be basis for removal from office. These are public funds that he used for what now appears to be a questionable purpose, at least suspicious. Time to get the town or county attorney involved for the next step.

  20. Dan on March 5th, 2019 8:42 am

    WHAT?… A corrupt politician? Say it isn’t so!

  21. Andy on March 5th, 2019 8:22 am

    I believe Steven Barry.

  22. ThomasG on March 5th, 2019 7:56 am

    Just how long does it actually take for either the Governor or the State Attorney’s Office to do something about this corrupt clown? All of the procedures in place which have been broken, are meant to expose this kind of behavior and yet NOTHING happens! The pompous, smug and crooked Mayor needs to go along with those who facilitate his behavior.

  23. tg on March 5th, 2019 7:50 am

    Century is in a world of its own and they operate it that way.

  24. Mat on March 5th, 2019 7:12 am

    “Drain The Swamp” on the Town of Century leadership. Clean out all the garbage. Restock it with some fresh water and some fresh fish.

  25. M in Bratt on March 5th, 2019 6:27 am

    This bunch just got schooled on the Sunshine Law, now they seem to need a lesson on the Freedom of Information Act. Mr. Mayor, you can’t decide which public information is for public eyes. You are obligated by law to produce un-redacted copies of any public record. I just wonder if the Town reimbursed the Honorable Mayor for these tickets, or is he on the hook for them?

  26. Well on March 5th, 2019 6:17 am

    Hey Sparkle, this is what makes people talk about Century.

    Not it’s Employees who can’t help the situation they’re in.

  27. Citizen on March 5th, 2019 2:46 am

    Recall





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