City of Fort Stockton Paying Back Misused Money - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

City of Fort Stockton Paying Back Misused Money

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON - Payments and now lawsuits. That's what the city of Fort Stockton is dealing with after discovering one million dollars in misappropriated funds.

You'll remember back in September, city auditors found discrepancies that forced the IRS to get involved but now a new battle is just heating up.

City officials are doing everything they can to put this problem behind the. They've already started paying back some of what they owe, but now one of the men accused of misusing the money is coming back swinging.

"I'd just like to apologize to the citizens of Fort Stockton," Fort Stockton Mayor, Bill Lannom, said. "We need to be honest with the residents of this city and say you were right there were some bad things going on."

Mayor Lannom is on a mission to get his city back on track.

In September, auditors found $1 million was moved from the city's certificate of obligation accounts into the general fund account back in 2010.

That money was supposed to pay for infrastructure improvements but was instead used for city bills. Because the money borrowed was misused, the IRS had to step in.

The city has now filed a plan with the government.

"We've asked them to fast track this because we need to get this resolved in one year," Lannom said.

As part of that plan, taxes were raised and they'll be making payments to themselves. Mayor Lannom said they've already paid back about $500,000.

"At the end of that year, we will make debt payments and include the million dollars back into our accounts," he said.

They're also working on sorting out a paper trail to retrace the steps of the former city officials who they believe were responsible for this mess.

The city's attorney in the IRS case believes, without a doubt, former Interim Finance Director Roger Carlisle was involved but that's not sitting well with Carlisle.

"He has sent us a letter showing that he intends to file a lawsuit," Lannom said.

A lawsuit for defamation and business disparagement.

"That's a two-way street and if that (a lawsuit) happens, we'll be prepared," Lannom said. "We need to get to this bottom of this as soon as we can but it's just gonna take time."

NewsWest 9 spoke with Carlisle's attorney by phone. He declined to comment on this story saying it was a pending legal matter but he did say a lawsuit is on the way.

Lannom said they're still in talks with the DA about a possible lawsuit against former City Manager Rafael Castillo who they also believe was involved.