NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - Leftover campaign signs are stacked up against the wall in New Roads Mayor Robert Myer's office. On Nov. 4th, he won re-election. But Mayor Myer said the political hardball is not over and now the Inspector General's office is looking into his use of his city issued credit card. Mayor Myer believes his former opponent, Cornell Dukes, is behind it all.
"This all got (started) from a political stunt and has turned into this," said Mayor Myer.
The 9News Investigators went through four years of records from when Myer first took office.
There were receipts for hundreds of dollars spent at restaurants including Superior Steakhouse in Shreveport for $578.58, Sullivan's, Mike Anderson's, Ma Mama's Restaurant, Ruth's Chris and the list goes on. There is no way to tell how many people were at a dinner or exactly what was ordered because there are not receipts for every purchase. Plus, many receipts were not itemized.
Flights and hotels cost the taxpayers the most with the mayor, some city council and school board members and others traveling all over the country: Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Washington D.C., Miami, Denver, Houston, Dallas, and hotel stays in New Orleans, Lake Charles and even in New Roads.
Mayor Myer said that some of the trips are for conferences and some are for leadership academies.
"You have to market your city. You have to learn about how to do things. You go to these conferences to network," said Mayor Myer.
One conference is the National League of Cities that holds meetings twice a year, complete with hundreds of dollars in registration and fees.
Kiran: "Is it necessary to go to both conferences every single year and take this many people on the taxpayer's dime?"
Mayor Myer: "I can't be the judge of that. What I can be the judge of is this: the City of New Roads is better off today than it was four years ago."
The mayor said he's proud of the way he's spent taxpayer dollars saying since he took office, he's brought in at least 400 jobs, reduced a $1.3 million deficit, attracted new businesses like a new hotel that will open next week, started a new Harvest Festival and he said he learned how to do all of that by attending conferences.
Other charges on the city issued credit card showed tickets to the movies, hundreds of dollars spent on Christmas decorations and a parade, more than a thousand dollars spent at Academy Sports, which the mayor said was for a park revitalization. The 9News Investigators also found $900 charged for major league baseball tickets.
Kiran: "There is a charge for $900 on sporting tickets. How do you explain that?"
Mayor Myer: "I don't think there's a charge for $900 on sporting tickets. You would have to show it to me. There is a charge for less than that that I reimbursed the city for. We were on a trip, and we bought the tickets."
But the mayor said he did pay the city back for those tickets. In fact, in the four years he's been in office, Mayor Myer's personal expenses on a city issued credit card have totaled $9,054.66. Over the months and years, he's written out checks reimbursing for those personal purchases. In fact, so far, he's reimbursed the City of New Roads $8,680.03.
The mayor said there was no policy against making personal purchases and then paying it back. Instead, after an audit pointed out that was a gray area, the mayor said he changed the policy earlier this year and personal purchases are no longer allowed.
As for the Inspector General's investigation, Mayor Myer said he welcomes it.
"I'm happy about where we are as a city. I'm happy that people, news agencies, individuals have looked at these records bc it'll only help us get better," said Mayor Myer.
The mayor said he was under the impression that he had reimbursed the full amount for his personal expenses, but if their auditor finds he still owes the city money, he said he will pay it back.