FORKLAND, Ala. (WIAT) – During a regularly scheduled town council meeting Wednesday, Forkland Mayor Derrick Biggs briefly addressed an auditorium packed with residents.
“There have been a lot of things going on recently. I know you all have heard one side, two sides, fifteen sides. They just took one thing and ran with it, but I’m not going to get into it today. There’s nothing to say, there’s nothing to report. Court dates are already set up.” said Biggs.
The “things” Biggs was referring to are charges of theft and tampering with government records in connection with more than $6,000 allegedly missing from the town water department.
Biggs refused to do interviews following the meeting. Stating that he had to leave the premises and that he would be more than happy to sit down for an interview if we called his office and set it up. When asked whether or not that was any money missing from the water department Biggs said, “No, there is not missing money. Everything is accounted for.”
Many residents and even one council member were shocked by how quickly the meeting was adjourned without public comment. The meeting lasted roughly 12 minutes.
“We’ve never had a meeting without public comment,” said Councilman Preston Davis.
Department supervisor, Alonzo Thomas says he and others became suspicious of the mayor’s activities in April when he took over for another worker who was drafting a deposit for the day. They noticed a $200 deposit that should have been around $400.
Thomas says the discrepancy prompted them to check other deposit activities involving the mayor. They claim a number of deposits dating back to December 2013 do not match the amounts actually collected on those corresponding days and that a total of more than $6,000 is missing.
When Thomas learned of the mayor’s comments after the meeting, he was in disbelief.
“It makes me angry, but if there wasn’t any money missing why would you not let the people know? Answer questions so they will know the money is not missing,” said Thomas.
Thomas, who has worked for the department for 35 years and another worker were fired less than 24 hours after the mayor bonded out of jail last week. Both were given termination letters citing “conduct unbecoming of an employee and unauthorized release of information and other conduct” as the reasons for their termination.
Thomas was hoping to be reinstated Wednesday during the meeting.
Councilman Preston Davis was also shocked to learned that the mayor says there is no missing money.
“The mayor lying then,” he said. “They mayor say up in his office and told me and three other people that he wanted to make payment arrangements so how is there no missing money?”
Another council meeting is set for August 2nd.