Lawrence mayor upset after possible illegal transfer of funds to pay for electric cars

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MARION COUNTY, Ind. (June 4, 2015) – Lawrence Mayor Dean Jessup was upset to learn that funds may have been illegally transferred out a storm water fund to pay for electric vehicles. Officials with the City of Indianapolis said the fund has been made whole but that answer isn’t good enough for Mayor Jessup.

“These are restricted funds the law is very specific on what this money is supposed to be spent on,” said Mayor Jessup.

An audit showed Indianapolis diverted at least $200,000 out of the Storm Water Management Utility Fund to pay Vision Fleet for electric cars. The money was taken out of the fund on Christmas Eve and city officials report the fund was reimbursed as of May 27.  A spokesperson with Mayor Ballard’s office admitted the process should have been reviewed by council but was not.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard also talked to FOX59 for the first time since the auditor’s findings were released.

“Well I don’t know the legality of it there certainly was no malicious intent whatsoever like I said it’s not out of the ordinary,” said Mayor Ballard.

The Lawrence mayor is now calling on his city to separate from the Marion County Storm Water District. Lawrence residents pay into the fund but Mayor Jessup said that money is being spent on other projects outside his city.

“It’s being spent somewhere else that’s our problem now, whether that’s on electric cars or whether that’s on other storm water projects is kind of irrelevant to me because I got people who need help and I got businesses that are sandbagging every time it rains,” said Mayor Jessup.

On June 8, the Indianapolis City-County Council is expected to vote on a proposal to sue the city over the Vision Fleet deal.

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