As a retired Federal law enforcement executive with more than 27 years experience in investigating white collar crime and government malfeasance, I would say that the disclosures contained in the first round of Elias Technologies documents, as reported by Gulf Coast Media, are damning. To summarize:
(1) Farihope's Mayor Karin Wilson conducted an extensive, politically-motivated and potentially illegal personal investigation of a city council member, more than 7 city employees and an unnamed private citizen (whom we might infer is the Gulf Coast Media reporter, but we don't know), looking for any evidence that could be found that they were, "trying to take her down" and "leaking" information.
(2) She used a city contractor to conduct that investigation - work that was totally outside the scope of the contractor's agreement with the city (which was for computer forensic support to the police department).
(3) When the contractor billed for the work, the mayor asked them to delete the out-of-scope, private investigation items from the bill - around $6000+ in work, saying that the invoice detailing that work could, "get her into trouble." The contractor agreed to "comp" the work - meaning that they gifted their services to the mayor.
(4) The contractor found no evidence, after extensive reviews of the various employees, etc., computers, emails, etc, of leaks to the media or other activities the mayor suspected them of. Gulf Coast Media confirms that none of the city employees investigated by the mayor, has provided the press with any information used as source material for The Courier's stories.
(5) The mayor repeatedly tried to get the contractor to agree to statements that various "leaks" to the media constituted security threats to the city. The contractor, to their credit, repeatedly confirmed that no security compromises had resulted.
(6) The mayor lied to the citizens of Fairhope in public statements claiming that her contacts with the contractor had been minimal, and that the first she had learned of the out-of-scope work was when the detail invoice was submitted to the city. To emphasize: the mayor completely lied to us, in what was a transparent attempt to cover up her involvement in this entire, sordid affair.
While Mayor Wilson claims that the media is on a "witch hunt" and that parties are trying to "take her down," it is now very clear who was conducting a witch hunt: Mayor Karin Wilson. Of city employees. Of the president of the city council. Of private citizens. All through the completely inappropriate use of city resources - a city contract - with the attempt to have the city foot the bill of her private, unauthorized political witch hunt, and ultimately accepting a gift worth thousands of dollars in the form of services from the contractor.
At what point is enough, enough? We're told that appropriate authorities - let's assume one or more law enforcement agencies - is investigating. That may or may not lead to criminal charges if such are warranted.
But how much longer will the mayor be allowed to abuse her office to conduct personal, politically-motivated investigations, not only of city employees and duly-elected representatives of the city, but of private persons? This needs to come to an end.
Mayor Wilson needs to resign for the good of the city. We can see she has lost the trust and respect of at least some of the City Council, and some of the city employees. And, frankly, given these extensive, disappointing and disturbing disclosures, she no longer deserves the trust of the citizens of the City of Fairhope. She has abused her elected position for personal ends, lied to the citizens, tried to cover up her actions and lost whatever claim she may have had to be the "new, transparent" leader a majority of citizens hoped to have.
Mayor Wilson's continued service as mayor will only bring more disrepute on the city, to the detriment of us all. If Mayor Wilson has any of the care or concern she claims for the city of Fairhope, she must now step aside to prevent her further infliction of harm, so that trust in our city government may be re-established and repairs begin on the city's damaged reputation. And, should she not now resign, action should be taken under the appropriate state laws to remove her from office.