Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags, Nike sneakers, firearms and various other luxury items were among the $200,000 in goods seized from the home of former Prichard Water Board manager Nia Bradley during a raid on Friday.
Bradley has been accused of misspending hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money she controlled while serving as the manager of the City of Prichard’s Water Works & Sewer Board. She faces charges of theft by deception and aggravated theft by deception.
The Prichard situation comes on the heels of the Alabama Legislature appropriating $225 million for water and sewer improvements in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds around the state, with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) running point on the distribution of those funds.
With such a considerable sum being put toward water and sewer, is the state equipped to prevent other water and sewer governing agencies from misusing those funds?
During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show,” State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) warned if those funds were misspent in a way that did not comport with ARPA, the state would be on the hook to repay the federal government.
“[O]ne of the things I’ve talked with my leadership about in the Senate was my very real concern about oversight of that funding,” Elliot said. “Not just because there was a possibility that some of it could be misspent, but if the feds determine that we have misspent it, the state of Alabama is going to have to pay it back. And that is very concerning to me.”
Elliott told “The Jeff Poor Show” that he, along with the budget chairmen in the Alabama Legislature, was serving in an oversight role of the ARPA funding.
“It is one of the reasons I was very honored that [Senate President Pro-Tem] Greg Reed appointed me to the joint legislative oversight committee on the ARPA funds,” Elliott continued. “It was his only appointment he had. And he had heard my concerns and said, ‘This guy is really concerned about oversight. Let’s put Senator Elliott on there,’ and I am appreciative of that.”
“That also puts me in a good position, along with Senator [Greg] Albritton, as a budget chairman, who will be on that committee, to really watch that funding statewide and make sure that it is spent correctly and there is accountability in how it is spent,” he added. “And if we need to change something that that committee can come back and make those changes legislatively, as well.”
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.