As auditor examines Finance Department allegations, Perkins and Nickelson trade barbs | News

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SHREVEPORT, La — The process to decide whether allegations of wrongdoing by a whistleblower at Shreveport City Hall should be investigated is ongoing.

“I think it usually takes a week or two before we decide whether we’re committing resources to it, and then we’ll develop an audit strategy from there,” Louisiana Legislative Auditor Michael Waguespack said.

On Monday, former city comptroller Ben Hebert said he was fired after telling his superiors about what he considers illegal practices within the city’s finance department, including the handling of expense reports. trip by Mayor Adrian Perkins. That prompted Councilman John Nickelson to call for a state audit on Thursday.

In his letter, Nickelson said, “I am writing in my capacity as Chairman of the Shreveport City Council Audit and Finance Committee.”

When KTBS asked the mayor to respond to Nickelson’s request, part of Perkins’ written statement said, “I am alarmed that Councilor Nickelson is misrepresenting himself as the chairman of the council’s audit and finance committee. Municipality of Shreveport. This raises questions about his motivations and character.”

But Nickelson says he was removed from the job shortly after requesting the audit. And when asked about Perkins’ response, Nickelson said in his own statement, in part, “I am very sad that our mayor continues to resort to baseless personal attacks on me for doing my job as a member of council. “

Emails obtained by KTBS 3 News appear to support Nickelson. They show that Nickelson notified his board colleagues of his audit request at 11:56 a.m. Thursday.

Half an hour later, at 12:26 p.m., Nickelson and the rest of the board members were briefed on their new committee assignments, as decided by new board chairman James Green, a Perkins loyalist. It showed that Nickelson was no longer on the committee he chaired for three years.

Green did not respond to a request for comment on his committee assignments. And when we asked if Mayor Perkins stood by his comments against Nickelson, his spokeswoman said he would have no further comment.

Nickelson added in his statement, “I’m tired of division and ugliness. Our city deserves better.”

Nickelson says he had no prior knowledge that he was going to be removed from the committee. But he says he expected Green to remove him as chairman since Nickelson did not back him for chairman.

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