Baton Rouge, LA - Requests are being made for a special investigation into Mayor Sharon Weston Broome's handling of the BRAVE grant program.
The BRAVE program is federally funded, and is designed to 'reduce crime in certain high-crime zip codes.'
On Monday afternoon, July 31, the LLE asked the state's legislative auditor to review grant funding of the BRAVE program since Mayor Weston Broome took office at the beginning of 2017.
According to Chris Stewart, executive director of LLE, funds set aside for BRAVE have been used instead to contract individuals for "art camps, flag football games, poetry workshops, events to engage young girls, transportation and other services."
In LLE's request, Stewart wrote, "While these activities may be of value to at-risk youth, they do not appear to be in line with the BRAVE grant guidelines and mission."
Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso appears to have the same concerns. Shortly after the LLE's request, he called for a review by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.
Amoroso told WBRZ reporters, "It appears to me its political favors being given out by the Mayor's office." He said that he had done research himself, from online, that was public information, and found contracts awarded to people through the mayor's office for amounts lower than what's required for Metro Council approval.
A copy of Amoroso's request can be found here. His research showed over 30 possible contracts, that were classified as 'professional service contracts'. One example given was a $17,500 contract to Cleve Dunn, Jr., who was on Mayor Weston Broome's Transition Team, to provide transportation for BRAVE participants including appearances, medical, and social appointments.
That initial suspended contract was awarded to Arthur 'Silky Slim' Reed. A public records request from WAFB News9 investigators showed that he was supposed to receive $9,800 to teach youth to respect police officers. The money had not been paid yet.
Last week, Reed publicly said that that Gavin Eugene Long, the man who ambushed the Baton Rouge police officers last summer, was serving "justice."
In the ambush, Baton Rouge Police Officer Montrell Jackson, Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald, and East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputy Brad Garafola were murdered by Long. East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputy Nick Tullier was gravely wounded during the incident, and remains at a rehab. Two other officers were shot but survived.
The comment occurred during a July 6 Metro Council hearing, when Council members received an update on the Alton Sterling shooting investigation, according to The Advocate. Reed said, "Justice has already been served. An eye for an eye. So justice came when Gavin Long came."
In a statement, Mayor Weston Broome said that she would review all contracts, and will make a public statement, to be released to the media, by August 7. She said that she has also directed her administration "to prepare a comprehensive report related to BRAVE contracts, projects, and funding."