LAUDERDALE LAKES, Fla. - Lauderdale Lakes Vice Mayor Patricia Hawkins-Williams says she's all about helping her city's children.
But now she's accused of taking money that wasn't hers to take from the city's youth football program, the Lauderdale Lakes Vikings.
Williams supplied t-shirts to the Vikings for a fundraiser. League president Lee Austin said offered to reimburse her the costs for the t-shirts after they were old and he confirmed that she accepted a total of $750 in cash at the concession stand.
But city records show that Williams didn't pay for the shirts -- taxpayers did. Those records show she charged the shirts to her city expense account and the printer of the shirts, N & J Printing in Lauderdale Lakes, confirmed it was paid by the city.
"We had no idea about that," said Austin. "We thought it was her personal money that she was donating to the program."
When questioned about the shirts, Williams initially referred questions to her attorney, but wouldn't say who that was. When I pressed her on camera on the matter, she said, "Anybody can make any kind of statement they want to make but the truth will always come out."
At one point she seemed to deny accepting the cash but deflected my questions.
"If I'm the bad person because of the kids then that makes me the bad person," she said. "Because I'm going to do what's right for the kids."
City activist Gwen Denton has filed an ethics complaint against Williams in the matter.
"You can't sit on the dais and abuse your power to do whatever you want to do with our tax dollars it's our money," she said. "As long as you're doing something to help our young people I support that but don't take from them."
Austin has no official record of paying the cash to Williams, but two additional concession stand workers confirmed that they witnessed the commissioner taking cash.
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