9News Investigators Update: Mayor's office addresses Metro Council about BRAVE contracts

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A series of 9News Investigations triggered an item on Wednesday's Metro Council agenda about the BRAVE contracts.

The discussion lasted well over an hour Wednesday night. It started as an explanation about why LSU was asking for $125,000 turned into a controversial conversation about all brave contracts.

Councilman Buddy Amoroso is the one who put this item on the agenda asking how much LSU was owed. The city's interim Chief Administrative Officer Dr. James Llorens said LSU is owed only $36,000 more, but did over $90,000 worth of work in good faith hoping to get reimbursed if additional federal funds came through.

Amoroso also asked if Mayor Sharon Weston Broome knew about the BRAVE contracts. Dr. Llorens said the mayor did not know and gave the grant administrator full discretion.

Many other council members also chimed in.

"I just want to know from the administration going forward that there won't be an attempt to circumvent the contract approval process of anything above $17,500 ," Councilman Dwight Hudson said.

"This was not an attempt to circumvent the approval process," Dr. Llorens responded. "What we were faced with was a time period, in terms of completing this grant."

Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis - "It is wrong; it's wrong at its core; it is wrong," Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis said. "This program is going away September 30th. We're going to leave over a million dollars on the table that really could have gone to help some young people. It is wrong; it is wrong. The attacks on the mayor have been wrong. People are probably going to say, 'The mayor wasn't in the room.' If I was her, I wouldn't be in the room either."

"It's not the problem as far as somebody getting a contract," Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Wilson said. "It's the process and the way it happened because you have to follow these guidelines. If you don't, you're in trouble with the feds."

Dr. Llorens added the legislative auditor has come in requesting all contracts. He also said once they're finished, they can reinstate all suspended contracts. meanwhile, in order for LSU to get paid anymore than $36,000, he says it has to go before the council for approval.


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