During the Manassas city council meeting held on the 9th of January, 2017, Leech City interviewed Councilman Godbee regarding the funding of his 2016 Mexican vacation romp. This interview is shown below:
Note particularly Councilman Godbee’s initial evasiveness, in an embarrassingly petulant fashion that would make an unruly teenage girl blush with shame. Later, Godbee attempts to conceal the connection between his vacation and Cole Swindell, Cole’s record label or the former city attorney B. Jay Swindell, Cole’s half-brother, and then finally caves and admits these connections. If he truly believed there was no conflict of interest, then why try to hide any of this?
Interestingly, early last year your author began investigating a shady backroom meeting held by the city council on January 4th, 2016, to approve a sidewalk project modification. This project was awarded to, wait for it, city contractor Ty Swindell, who was also reportedly involved in past contracting by the city. The mayor (shown here to the right) and the city clerk (her daughter Tracie Durrence, shown here to the left, hired during that same backroom meeting) both refused to sign for a letter I presented them in person requesting documents from that backroom meeting held in the mayor’s office. A week later, Mayor Rogers attempted (unsuccessfully) to have your author charged with criminal disorderly conduct after she signed for that letter which I had then sent to the city by certified mail. Perhaps in her fertile imagination my letter dashed about the room intimidating small animals.
Now note that the mayor also intervenes during my interview of Councilman Godbee. What is the mayor trying to hide, both by her previous ridiculous criminal allegations against me, as well as her intervention here? Are the two of them, or more, attempting to hide something we have yet to reveal? How many public officials, both in the city and on former Sheriff Quinton Rush’s staff, were required to cook up that allegation against me and try to make it stick? Normal people with nothing to hide don’t just make up criminal allegations against curious citizens out of the blue. How wide is this web of collusion, if any, among Tattnall County officials? We’ll find out.
One important learning point from this example of public accountability is that when a public official refuses to answer reasonable questions about their performance in office, or possible conflicts of interest, then you know that those are the most important issues to investigate. When they attempt to have someone arrested after asking those questions, then there is most certainly fire under that smoke.
Another important learning point is that certain public officials may imagine themselves royalty, especially those who inherited their positions. Such petty tyrants behave as if they believe they are above accountability by you and me, and they will easily resort to evasion, intimidation and subterfuge to keep their dirty secrets hidden.
Eventually, however, under diligent questioning, these individuals will often crumble when faced with the consequences of their own conduct. Don’t allow your own public officials, who, after all, are your servants, to evade their responsibilities to the public. Stay on them, and demand open accountability as required of them by both state law and simple decency.
And for those who won’t crumple as easily as Councilman Godbee did here but instead hold fast to evasion and subterfuge? Those are probably the truly guilty parties deserving of our most determined attention. Stay tuned for more.