Lubbock's $1.6 Million Question: Where's the Money? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/4/02

Lubbock's $1.6 Million Question: Where's the Money?

An alleged mistake with Lubbock city business could cost LP&L customers more money.  Lubbock city council members will be meeting behind closed doors next week in search for answers as to why $1.6 million is gone.

Councilman Victor Hernandez says he thought the money was there to take care of some fees. Two weeks ago, the city and the West Texas Municipal Power Agency settled their lawsuit with GE Power for over one million dollars. As a result of a broken turbine and the lawsuit, the city has a bill of $600,000 to pay in attorney fees, and insurance costs.

But if the $1.6 is gone, who's going to pay the bill?

"Where's the money?" NewsChannel 11 asked Councilman Ty Cooke Friday. "Where's the money? The money has been spent," he responded. Councilman Cooke is also the chairman of the WTMPA. He is not sure, but says the WTMPA board of directors decided to spend the $1.6 on a $16 million bond payment used to build the Massengale Power Generating plant in Lubbock.

But councilman Hernandez is upset because he and several other council members didn't know WTMPA had spent the money. "Well, they were supposed to have withheld it until the lawsuit with GE was resolved. Because ultimately it could have ended up being that they owed GE the rest of the contract price of 16 million or $1.6 million," said Hernandez.

"I don't think anything illegal has occurred or any wrong doing has taken place. The question in fact if the $1.6 million has been spent, why weren't we notified last week when we were discussing this settlement?" said Mayor Marc McDougal.

"Does council have a right to know?" NewsChannel 11 asked Cooke. "If they ask. Yeah, there's nothing being held a secret," Cooke said.

Cooke says records that the city's financial office should have will prove the money was spent on bonds. City Manager Bob Cass has instructed his financial staff to look for the documents. Next Tuesday, council members hope to clear the air about these questionable actions.

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