Calvin Walker denies ripping off Port Arthur, as citizens demand council investigation of payment

 Embattled Beaumont electrician Calvin Walker tells 12News he has proof of all the work he did for the city of Port Arthur.

He says photos were taken before, during and after.

Plus he says the city's electrical inspectors signed off on it.

Which is one reason Port Arthur taxpayers have started an online petition asking the city to investigate itself.

Former Port Arthur City Councilman Robert Troy says during his time on council, there were red flags as to how money was being spent, especially with Parks & Recreation.

Troy said, "I just couldn't get heads or tails of what they were doing with the Parks & Recreation for the money that was put out there."

So much was his concern that even when out of office he submitted a public information request for that department's itemized expenses, a request he's still waiting for.

Troy said, "It's taxpayers' money and it should be accounted for."

Last week, Walker was arrested accused of overbilling Port Arthur for post-Hurricane Ike electrical work he did at all city ball parks.

He charged the city almost $675,000.  City attorney Val Tizeno told 12News the city council was not getting involved and letting the Jefferson County District Attorney handle the investigation.

Troy says that's not enough.  He said, "I don't understand why the city is deciding to hold off and let the district attorney come in and do the investigation, when they should be doing the investigation themselves."

Troy's not alone, that's why the online petition was started over the weekend.

The petition is asking the council to to an investigation, aside from the DA's investigation.

Supporters of the petition drive say someone at city hall needs to be held accountable.

Port Arthur taxpayer Mark Carpenter said, "It needs to be looked into whether the city council cares to look into it, if it's something they want to overlook, it looks more like a cover-up, than actual taking care of business."

Even Walker has signed it.  He's convinced no wrongdoing will be found.  He posted on the petition, "You are being lied to again.  Those folks in P.A. did not mishandle any funds.  Let us now how that works out for you."

Former councilman John Beard is also calling for a council investigation, he was on council when the payment to Walker was made in 2008..

Beard said, "Council can only act on the information presented by the city manager and his staff.  It's their responsibility to use due diligence to prevent overcharging and financial accountability.  It's a council's elected duty to find out where the system of accountability broke down.  The payment to Walker has a paper trail, from who requested and oversaw the work, to who approved the check for payment.  The council doesn't need to wait on the district attorney for answers.  We should demand answers from the council, not the DA, and council shouldn't tolerate, nor accept excuses.  Their inaction will cause the citizens to take action."


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