THE INVESTIGATORS: Silky Slim hired by mayor's office to teach teens to respect police, cancelled contract shows
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's office planned to pay Arthur Reed, a.k.a. Silky Slim, $9,800 for 40 hours of work involving teaching youth "communication techniques," according to documents obtained by the 9News Investigators on Friday.
The contract called for Reed to teach communication techniques to teens "designed to avoid violence and build increased respect between the community and police."
Reed, addressing a meeting of the EBR metro council Wednesday night, said "justice came when Gavin Long came." He was referring to the man who shot and killed three law enforcement officers and wounded three others in July 2016. Broome responded to his comments by publicly reprimanding the former gang member turned community advocate.
The contract between the city and Reed was signed on June 6, but the mayor terminated the agreement this week after WAFB filed a public records request seeking a copy of the contract. The full contract, and the cancellation of said contract, can be read below.
The documents released to WAFB on Friday indicate Reed’s contract with the city was for a training program that would bring in up to 50 formerly incarcerated adults to speak to teens about how to effectively communicate with police and the public. The program was to include 40 hours of classroom instruction over a five-week period from July 1 to September 17.
Broome said Thursday she was not aware of the contract until WAFB filed a public records request earlier in the week. She cancelled the contract and said no money had yet been paid to Reed.
Because the contract was for an amount less than $17,500, it did not require Broome's signature. The mayor says going forward, her signature will be required on all contracts, regardless of the amount.
The Reed contract, which did not require a public request for bids, intended to pay Reed $9,800 of federal grant money from the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE) program.
The mayor's chief administrative officer, Dr. James Llorens, said when he saw WAFB's records request, he at first did not expect to find any contracts under Mayor Broome's administration, that is until he went to talk to their assistant chief administrative officer, Dr. James Gilmore, who initiated the contract with Reed.
"I saw a review of some of the contracts that had been awarded and I saw it was on Arthur Reed, so we immediately made the call to purchasing to halt the contract," said Dr. Llorens.
BRAVE is a program launched in Baton Rouge in 2012 funded by federal grants to reduce crime in high crime areas.
In 2016 though, funding for the program was not extended. Instead, the federal government told officials in Baton Rouge they needed to use whatever money was leftover in the account by September 30. That account has $1.4 million in it.
An extension request wad filed, but denied.
So now, if that $1.4 million is not used by September 30, it will go back to the federal government. Dr. Llorens says that's why Dr. Gilmore was looking into how to use the remaining money.
"It was suggested to him someone like Arthur Reed would probably be able to communicate with those and made the decision to approach Arthur for a contract," said Dr. Llorens.
When asked if Reed would've been paid with funds for BRAVE, Dr. Llorens responded, "It would have been coming out of the monies that are remaining in that grant that have to be spent by September 30."
But both Dr. Llorens and the mayor say Reed was never paid.
When asked how no money could be exchanged after a contract is signed, Mayor Broome answered,"Because it never took, it never took place. It was never implemented, so it was cancelled before any implementation took place."
The 9News Investigators have learned that so far this year, there have been six meetings regarding the BRAVE grant, but sources say the man over the program, Dr. Gilmore, has only been at one of those meetings. We're also told with a deadline about two months away, Dr. Gilmore was trying to use the $1.4 million before it's gone.
"He was looking at a number of contracts and a number of services they could implement prior to the expiration of the contract," said Dr. Llorens.
In researching Dr. Gilmore, we found Facebook posts from last September that were posted by Gilmore, but then deleted.
Reed was part of the mayor's transition team as a member of a police advisory board that worked on proposed changes to the police department's use of force policy.
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