Inglewood Mayor James Butts kicked of the regular city council meeting held Oct. 4 with a stern warning to public speakers that if they made disparaging remarks about the council they would have their mics muted and could face arrest.
Over the last few week’s residents have questioned the alleged conflict of interest with the city attorney’s office prosecution of the mayor’s son after a person present in the courtroom submitted a letter to the editor on the matter.
Additionally, residents are speaking out about the mental health of Councilmember George Dotson who appears to be in declining health, which is of concern to residents as he is seeking an additional four-year term on the council. Dotson has also called on the police to throw a member of the public out of his day at the park event last month.
Dotson was asked a direct question from a resident about his thoughts on the Inglewood Transit Connector project which he responded “he leaves it up to a higher authority” and then turned to the mayor.
The mayor has single handedly funded Dotson’s campaign since he was first elected. The pattern continues as the mayor and Dotson are sharing campaign office space on Manchester Blvd. which is a semi-shrine to Butts.
Councilman Alex Padilla also chimed in that regardless of how the council members feel about the project, the votes have always been unanimous.
“Whether we support the transit connector project or not the vote is unanimous, wink wink,” said Padilla.
Mayor Butts said if the project doesn’t move forward, considering it is not 100% funded, the City will not be obligated to pay back any portions of either state or federal dollars already received and also stated “no public money” has been used on any of the ITC related activities thus far.
His statements contradict the last audit performed by Lance, Soll, and Lunghard LLP that they signed in May and placed on the July 19 regular city council meeting. Page 44 of the audit details the amounts owed to the City by other governments totaling over $16 million as of Sept. 30, 2021, which includes $3.3 million owed to the City from Metro for transit connector related activities.
The auditors were not present and provided no comment on the City’s financial condition which shows the net position at negative $100 million.
The mayor has not indicated those amounts have indeed been received to ensure the money was paid back to the source it came from. Once the audit is performed for the period ending Sept. 30, 2022, will we see those items are no longer outstanding?