Shreveport Councilman Calls for Investigation into Mayor & City Finances
With the city facing a major lawsuit over the dismissal of Finance Department Controller Ben Hebert, Shreveport Councilman John Nickelson is calling for an independent investigation into the matter by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.
Who is Ben Hebert and What Does He Say
Hebert is claiming he is the victim of age and race discrimination and he also says he was retaliated against for whistleblowing. The 85-year-old was fired in December. He says this firing happened after he refused to go along with financial decisions which he says were in violation of the law.
Councilman Nickelson Wants an Outside Investigator
In a social media post Thursday afternoon, Nickelson said:
"This morning I sent the letter below to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor requesting that he and his staff investigate the City of Shreveport's Finance Department. Thirty-three minutes later I was stripped by the City Council chairman of my Audit and Finance Committee chairmanship, which I held for three years.
"I love Shreveport. I've given my constituents and our city 110 percent since I was elected in 2018. But loving Shreveport isn't enough. We all have to fight for Shreveport - and we have to do everything in our power to makes sure eight smart, competent, honest people are elected to lead the city in the fall 2022 elections.
"Our future depends on it."
Council's 2nd GOP Member Backs Nickelson
Nickelson received immediate support from fellow Republican, Councilman Grayson Boucher, who wrote:
"With the recent allegations that have been raised about the City of Shreveport’s Finance Department, I believe an outside investigation is warranted.
"The CFO and the Finance Department are both critical parts of our city’s government and oversees over 400 million dollars. As elected officials we owe the citizens a complete and in-depth outside investigation to these serious allegations.
"I completely support my colleague."
Councilman Nickelson's Letter to the State Auditor
Here is a copy of Nickelson's letter to Legislative Auditor, Michael J. Waguespack:
And the Mayor Answers
In a statement late Thursday afternoon Mayor Adrian Perkins responded to the Nickeloson letter:
"The City of Shreveport undergoes an internal and external audit annually. If the State has the resources to conduct an additional audit, we welcome it. I’m always looking at ways for our Finance Department to be stronger. However, I’m alarmed that Councilman Nickelson is misrepresenting himself as the Chairman of the Shreveport City Council Audit and Finance Committee. It raises questions about his motives and character.”