Mississippi auditor says town misspent seized drug money

Mississippi's state auditor says a town improperly spent nearly $500,000 in seized drug money on non-police purposes.

Posted: May 21, 2018 4:45 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's state auditor says a town improperly spent nearly $500,000 in seized drug money on non-police purposes.

Stacey Pickering on Monday issued letters demanding repayment to current and former town officials in Pelahatchie, a 1,300-person town east of Jackson.

The Republican auditor says the money was misspent on utilities, firefighting, employee salaries and other expenses in 2015, 2016 and 2017. He says that under state law, forfeited assets can only be spent on police.

Including interest and investigative costs, Pickering demands $502,000. Current and former officials and the bonding company that insures them have 30 days to pay. If not, Pickering says he will sue them in civil court.

The Rankin County town's government has been the focus of a power struggle between Mayor Ryshonda Beechem and aldermen.

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