The Inglewood City Council convened on August 18 to set a Public Hearing date for the public to weigh in on the Disposal and Disposition Agreement between the city and Murphy’s Bowl LLC. What wasn’t on the agenda was explosive public comments by Treasurer Wanda Brown that nearly brought Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. to tears.
The treasurer spoke during public comment on Agenda Item 2 to write off $1.2 million in bad debt. The accumulated debt related to Transient Occupancy Tax was due to a faulty audit performed on the hotel/motel owners in 2010 when the city was facing a severe revenue shortfall.
The hotel/motel owners threatened to sue the city over the city overreaching their scope of the audits. The owners were riding the wave of a successful lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles that reached the Supreme Court.
Brown continued to discuss the incompetency in the Finance Department that the staff is unqualified which were the same assertions made by Barbara Ohno.
“You are an embarrassment to the city, your former executive Melanie McDade is suing the city for $12 million,” said Brown. “It’s $12 million we don’t have and if we have to pay it staff will be laid off. Again you are a disgrace and without a doubt the most corrupt mayor the city has experienced.”
Mayor Butts then asked for City Manager Artie Fields to explain why the city is writing off such an extraordinary amount of money and he declined to do so.
She also eluded the mayor was involved in the accident near USC while traveling to a trial for his daughter for assaulting her landlord. A charge the mayor vehemently denied which also brought him close to tears.
Butts again called up Koike to discuss the amount of the reserves as of FY 2018-2019 which was $54 million. She failed to discuss the amount in reserves as of today.
“Is there a discrepancy: is there $54 million or $27 million in the reserves,” asked BillionGodSun from the Africa Town Coalition. “There’s a lot more than what is being put up for COVID relief by the city at $500 per month.”
Councilman George Dotson reminded the public to take their issues with Mayor Butts straight to him and not over the phone or during the council meeting. A public records request shows that Dotson still owes the mayor in excess of $160,000 in campaign contributions.
Mayor Butts closed the meeting by addressing assertions made by the treasurer and targeted her salary.
He explained how she asked to have a salary more comparable to the city clerk and he and the council obliged by giving her additional duties to substantiate the salary increases approved on various salary ordinances.
He explained how Brown used to “praise” the actions of him and the council and now that she has stopped, the council will now “explore” removing those duties (extra pay) and put that money back into the city’s finances.
He quoted the treasurer’s salary was $1404 before he and the council swelled it to $7949.76 as detailed in salary ordinance 18-01.
Who gave the council the authority to increase the salaries of the city clerk and city treasurer and not Inglewood voters?