Mayor takes blame not telling council of gas card investigation

HATTIESBURG — Mayor Johnny DuPree is taking the blame for failing to notify Hattiesburg City Council members about an investigation into fraudulent city employee gas charges.

Ward 3 Councilman Carter Carroll complained at Tuesday’s council meeting that he and his colleagues were kept in the dark about the six-month Hattiesburg Police Department investigation into fraudulent gas card expenses.

Two of those fraudulent expenses, stemming from the Department of Water and Sewer — and totaling more than $10,000 — were on the docket for the council’s approval Tuesday. They were rejected.

“I take full responsibility. It was nobody’s fault but mine,” DuPree said yesterday. “The last thing we want to do is to put the council in jeopardy. I should have notified them about what was going on with the investigation.”

The Hattiesburg American reports that State Auditor Stacey Pickering was notified of the situation Wednesday and has weighed in with a written statement saying the auditor’s office is looking into it.

“We are aware of the situation in Hattiesburg and are currently looking into it,” Pickering said. “Our Technical Assistance Division is also working with the city to provide guidance and compliance assistance. However, we cannot comment any further at this time.”

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