New council, mayor have first meeting; council quibbles over trailer

By: Katie Nichols | November 5, 2013

The first Mobile City Council meeting with Sandy Stimpson as mayor on Nov. 5 was packed with unanimous decisions, but there were two issues that did hit a snag — a lease agreement to place a used city modular home in Plateau and the approval of Paul Wesch as executive director of finance for the city.

Former Mayor Sam Jones attempted to push through the modular home issue before he left office, but was unable to accomplish his goal.

The Jones administration cleared one hurdle by identifying the funding source for the trailer, which was drug forfeiture money. But since it was purchased with law enforcement funds, the trailer needed to be used for law enforcement purposes.

The trailer, which the Jones administration hoped to send to Plateau to be used as a welcome center for Africatown, was previously used by Mobile Police Department for the Fifth Precinct. Since the trailer was purchased with drug forfeiture money, there are stipulations attached to it.

In a series of emails provided to Lagniappe among the previous administration’s executive staff, including Chief of Staff Al Stokes, Director of Real Estate and Asset Management Bill DeMouy and then City Attorney Larry Wettermark, Wettermark notes the issues surrounding the trailer.

“The trailer to be used from MPD may have been purchased with drug forfeiture funds which would then implicate federal regulations,” reads an email from Wettermark on Oct. 16. It has since been discovered forfeiture money was used to purchase the trailer. “These regs require use of proceeds from forfeitures for law enforcement purposes only.

“The AfricaTown organization would not qualify as presently constituted, but it may be possible to amend their charter (or by-laws, etc.) to adopt some community/law enforcement interaction program in order to qualify.”

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