Sometimes, a sista just needs to see Michelle Obama. But when you serve in political office, allocating funds to do it might not be the best idea.
Lyndia Thomas, former mayor of Forest Hill, Texas, and Beckie Hayes, who served as Thomas’ mayor pro tem, both resigned in the wake of allegations that they misused funds when they shelled out over $500 a piece to attend an Obama event in Dallas, Texas, then asked the city for reimbursements.
“I will not leave my fate in the hands of other individuals,” Hayes said after the city council accepted her resignation. “I am a woman of integrity, and the allegations, they have no substance. They are false.”
At play here is what exactly falls under the vast umbrella of professional development and city business.
“It doesn’t specify what we can do and where we can go,” Hayes said. “But it’s set aside for us to go and learn and get involved.”
Forest Hill, Texas, is a predominately Black suburb of Fort, Worth, Texas. It is a city with Black women serving in the highest offices, so there is a strong argument that going to listen to and potentially network with Forever First Lady Michelle Obama was city business.
But additional potential cases of misappropriation of funds—brought to light by a citizen’s audit committee, Dallas’s WFAA reports—“flagged other expenses that they said were questionable, either lacking in documentation or approval from council.”
So, this is not just about the Obama event. Either way, Hayes and Thomas aren’t leaving politics behind. Both women say they will run for city council this coming May.