BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Despite claiming she was not involved, internal emails appear to show East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome was in fact intimately involved in who received at least one contract funded by the federal anti-crime program known as BRAVE.
The BRAVE federal gr ant has rigid guidelines regarding the types of programs municipalities can fund, prompting questions about whether multiple contracts issued under the Broome administration using BRAVE money met those guidelines.
The 9News Investigators, through a public records request, received 157 emails between Broome's assistant chief administrative Officer, Dr. James Gilmore, and purchasing director, Patti Wallace.
In an email dated July 11, 2017, Gilmore sent a brief message to Wallace saying: "Mayor just called asking if we completed New Hope's contract. Please advise."
The very next day, July 12, records show Wallace issued a purchase order for New Hope Outreach Ministries in the amount of $17,000. The purchase order says the group is being paid to assess, evaluate, and counsel people with substance abuse, mental health, gambling, grief, and domestic violence issues. The contract related to that purchase order clearly states New Hope's services are being funded with the federal BRAVE gr ant.
A public records request by the 9News Investigators shows Mayor Broome said she learned of a BRAVE contract with Arthur "Silky Slim" Reed and immediately cancelled it. The $9,800 contract was intended to pay Reed to teach young people to respect police. Reed is the same person who said he believes the man who shot and killed officers in Baton Rouge last year delivered "justice" to those officers.
After WAFB filed a public records request seeking more information on the Reed contract, the mayor's office quickly cancelled it and stopped any payments from being issued to Reed.
"I have been very transparent in this whole process," Broome said during an August 7 interview broadcast on WAFB. "First of all, as I've stated on a number of occasions, I was not involved in the execution of the those contracts."
9News asked Mayor Broome for a response. She replied, "I regularly inquire about the status of program activity in my office. This is what these emails reflect."
The 9News Investigators also requested any emails related to Silky Slim sent or received by the mayor, Dr. Gilmore, and Wallace. We were told no such emails exist. Gilmore was over BRAVE under Mayor Broome's administration and amid several 9News investigations, has resigned from his position effective September 1.