Texas Mayor, Deputy Resign After Spending Taxpayer Money to Attend Michelle Obama Event | NTK Network Texas Mayor, Deputy Resign After Spending Taxpayer Money to Attend Michelle Obama Event

Texas Mayor, Deputy Resign After Spending Taxpayer Money to Attend Michelle Obama Event

The Fort Worth suburb’s mayor and mayor pro tem resigned last week after it was discovered they spent more than $1,000 in taxpayer money to attend a Michelle Obama speaking event.

By NTK Staff | 01.22.2019 @12:15pm
Texas Mayor, Deputy Resign After Spending Taxpayer Money to Attend Michelle Obama Event

A small town in Texas is in “turmoil” after the mayor and mayor pro tem abruptly resigned last week after an open records request revealed they spent more than $1,000 in taxpayer money to attend a Michelle Obama event in December.

Lyndia Thomas and Beckie Duncan Hayes, the mayor and mayor pro tem of Forest Hill, Texas, resigned “just hours before” the town’s city council was scheduled to hold a public meeting on their alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars.

The two were accused of using city money to cover, among other expenses, tickets to attend a “conversation” with Michelle Obama, a Dec. 17 event held in conjunction with the former first lady’s recent book tour. The tickets cost $545 each.

In all, an open records request found that the two spent $1,091.92 in taxpayer money for the Obama event, which took place at the America Airlines Center in Dallas. Forest Hill is located southeast of Fort Worth and is home to about 13,000 residents, according to the city’s website.

Ticket prices vary by venue, but in nearby Houston, they ranged from $29.50 to $179.50. Premium tickets cost more, and a pair equivalent to those purchased by Thomas and Hayes could have landed them in seats on the arena floor.

Thomas defended the expense to the Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate. “We don’t get paid a salary, but … we are entitled to be reimbursed for our expenses.”

Hayes added that the city manager approved the reimbursement, which “came from a $10,000 public relations fund that allows council members to attend events for educational purposes.”

“It doesn’t specify what we can do and where we can go. But it’s set aside for us to go and learn,” Hayes said of the fund, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The two resigned after the allegations were made public, but before a city council meeting could take place to address them. According to Hayes, they “were not going to put our fate in [the council’s] hands.”

Instead, the two filed to run for re-election last week.

“I’m expecting to win,” Hayes told NBC5. The election is in May.

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