Mayor Morris suspects contract fraud

Mayor Bob Morris has directed City Attorney Jacque Pucheu to gather required information about what he thinks may be a $150,000 case of contract fraud against the city.

Morris said he has had conversations with Pucheu, attorney Vernon McManus, who handles some city cases, and attorney and Alderman at-large Jack Burson about the matter.

Following those, he “in my official capacity as mayor, directed the City Attorney to begin to take steps to resolve the issue.”

Other than the amount involved, Morris declined to say anything more about the matter, except that it allegedly occurred before he took office in January 2007.

Asked if the city was considering a criminal action or a civil action, the mayor said that is waiting on Pucheu’s findings.

He did say that “after discussion with the three attorneys there appear to be three private entities involved” in the alleged fraud.

Morris initially approached Dist. Atty. Earl Taylor about the matter but was told, he said, that Taylor’s office could not help.

He then turned to Pucheu for advice, originally asking for input, he said, in mid-January. He said he again this week asked Pucheu, “in his official capacity as City Attorney, to begin necessary steps to resolve the issue.”

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