Without, fanfare, the City of Shreveport finally filed suit on February 14 (Valentine’s Day, how ironic) against the financial bond advisor hand-picked by Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, – Calvin Grigsby. Seemingly Glover has had a “love affair” with Grigsby, whose business reputation is checkered at best. This litigation is very significant; it follows up on an unprecedented external audit investigation ordered by the Shreveport City Council, against the wishes of Big G.
The audit report was presented to the Council in October of 2012. Its findings indicated that Grigsby failed to provide approved documentation of its services, that some source billed for did not comply with the scope of the contract, and some payments were not properly approved.
In July 2013, the Council determined that one overpayment could not be refuted by Grigsby. Specifically, the Council determined that Grigsby had billed for three separate bond transactions that really was just one transaction. This billing resulted in overpayment of $54,450 by the city. In December of last year the Council voted 6-1 (Rose McCullough voted “no”) for collection action to the instituted against Grigsby over Big G’s objection. Grigsby defended his billings saying they represented billable hours expended in getting voter approval of the 2008 bond package. Glover defended Grigsby, saying that he saved Shreveport “millions”.
The Council’s investigation of Grigsby’s billings and subsequent institution of litigation to correct the overcharge are the most aggressive actions taken by the Council, – and in fact possibly by any City Council under the mayor-council form of government. These steps were certainly warranted and are reflective of the checks and balances of power that should exist between the mayor’s office and the Council. Glover’s insistence on using Grigsby was questioned from the get-go, and his continued stubbornness is reflective of his poor leadership, much like the dog park dispute.
The real impact of the litigation is that the Council will not approve the issuance of additional bonds authorized in the 2008 bond package as long as Glover insists on using Grigsby. Big G continues to be a champion for Grigsby, stating that his familiarity with Shreveport’s financial status will undoubtedly save money for the City in future bond sales. As the litigation drags on, so do the remaining days of influence by Glover whose term ends December 31. Most political observers hope that Shreveport’s next mayor will be in command before any future bond sales are scheduled.