BOSSIER CITY, La. – Hidden among all the politics coming out of Bossier City’s change of guard this week, concern over a high-end vehicle purchase that occurred after Tommy Chandler won election, but before he took office.
According to city council leaders, Chandler is now using the vehicle, a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier that cost the city nearly $77,000.
The mysterious purchase caused the council to put a hold on all new vehicle purchases, including 20 new police SUVs, according to a police source.
The purchase of the Tahoe first came to light Tuesday during the council meeting, the first for Chandler as mayor.
“In my opinion, we’re not a $77,000 dollar vehicle city,” new City Council President Don Williams said. “You know, I think that’s ridiculous.”
In fact, Williams told KTBS-3 News he is putting a committee together to find out how a purchase like this can happen without oversight.
3 Investigates got a copy of both the purchase order and bill of sale for the new $76,932 Tahoe. The purchase occurred April 1, and Williams wanted to make it clear that Mayor Chandler had nothing to do with it. In fact, during Tuesday’s council meeting, Chandler himself said he had no knowledge of the purchase.
“I had nothing to do with this,” Chandler said at Tuesday’s meeting. “It happened months ago, so I didn’t know anything about it.”
So, who approved the luxury vehicle? In an email acquired by 3 Investigates, fleet manager Rodney Oar clearly is ordered to hunt down a pearl white Tahoe, telling purchasing agent Lilliana Garcia, “I found the only white Tahoe around at Marketplace Chevrolet in Stonewall,” the email said.
KTBS has since learned that the order to buy the vehicle came from former city attorney Jimmy Hall, a close ally of former Mayor Lo Walker. But why Hall would order a high-end vehicle for the new mayor is still unclear.
Another interesting fact is that the vehicle was purchased with Bossier City Fire Department funds, and despite the fact that other vehicles were available for the new mayor to use.
Records show Walker left behind a 2017 Impala, and outgoing Chief Administrative Officer Pam Glorioso left behind a 2018 Ford Taurus.
“Usually we buy on state contract, $25,000, $30,000 (vehicles). And we need to stick with that,” Williams said. “The old mayor is leaving. Could the new mayor take his car? Yeah, probably.”
Another concern is that all Bossier City vehicles, according to the city charter, must be marked with city markings. City council members pointed out Tuesday the mayor’s new vehicle remains unmarked. Citizens expressed their concern about that.
“The ordinance either needs to be enforced or dropped and not ignored,” David Jones said. “Because it’s pretty clear that any city vehicle is supposed to be clearly identified as a city of Bossier vehicle.”
Meanwhile, Williams said he will be looking into this to determine why Hall gave the directive to purchase the near $77,000 vehicle.
“We just need to get to the bottom of it and let them know … that’s not acceptable,” Williams said.