PELAHATCHIE, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi town's mayor has responded to the state auditor's demand that officials repay roughly $500,000 after nearly that amount in seized drug money was improperly spent on non-police purposes.
An attorney for Pelahatchie Mayor Ryshonda Beechem told news outlets in a statement Tuesday that shortly after taking office in July, she became suspicious of how town money was being spent and reported it Auditor Stacey Pickering. Beechem's attorney, Thomas Bellinder, said she took her concerns to the Board of Aldermen but they refused to change their practices.
On Monday, Pickering issued letters to current and former Pelahatchie officials demanding repayment. He says the money was misspent on utilities, firefighting, employee salaries and other expenses in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Under state law, forfeited assets can only be spent on police.