With the news of Bernice Lile’s arrest last week for alledged embezzlement of Gordman Insurance Services, where she was employed, came shock and dismay from many county and city officials.
Mrs. Lile has been serving on the 911 board and the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors will likely have to find a replacement for her.
After Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting, several officials found the charges against Mrs. Lile hard to believe. Mrs. Lile had long served as a dispatcher at the sheriff’s department as well as other duties.
Other friends and acquaintances of Mrs. Lile noted that she has always been so helpful to others and those in need. She has never had an extravagant lifestyle, they noted, which is usually evident in those who embezzle large amounts of money.
Speculation is that the amount of money alledgedly embezzled from Gordman could be between $400,000-$500,000.
It should be noted, again, that Mrs, Lile has been charged…but is innocent until proven guilty.
Tommy Ross Alleges
Packet readers may remember when Columbus resident Tommy Ross came before the city council back on May 17th to allege constant harassment from two Columbus police officers, Officers Stephen Kemp and William Thrasher. Ross later met with then-Columbus Police Chief Joe St. John.
This past Tuesday evening during the Columbus City Council meeting, Ross returned to make new charges of harassment, this time from a different officer.
Ross stepped up to the microphone. “I don’t have a whole lot to talk about” Ross told the mayor and council.
“I want to apologize and sympathize for the fact that I got a little carried away the last time I was here, and I made a statement that wasn’t pleasing to none of you gentlemen.”
“But I’m here this evening about something that transpired last Wednesday. As I was walking through the city, I walk in the evening long distances, trying to lose some of this weight I’ve carried for so long. And I noticed that this police officer…he started to follow me all around 182 (highway). And just as I got where old Winn-Dixie used to be…and stopped there, he begged for me to cross…and I said, “you cross”…but he wouldn’t cross…then backed up, went all around Lehmberg, and then all of a sudden I didn’t see him anymore.
But after I walked, walked, walked, walked…it was starting to get dusky dark, I got down around Gardner Blvd just about…and then he was parked there. And he got so close, so I stopped and folded my arms…and he went on past me and he turned around in a hurry…and he came back and he stopped with his radio in this hand. He said, ‘I notice you’ve got your arm folded…what is that supposed to mean?’. And I could have said, ‘I fold my arms whenever I damn well please’…but, intelligently I said to him, ‘Mister…I’m tired of you harassing me’…and then he said, ‘Oh, I thought you wanted me’, and then he pulls off.”
“Now, I’ve contacted the chief (McQueen), and the chief has been very coopperative and, in fact we’re supposed to be meeting tomorrow…it’s just the fact that I wish that I’ll be able to go somewhere, sometimes where I’m not being picked on by police officers. The last time I was here, two of the names that I mentioned that has been picking on me forever…and that’s Thrasher and Kemp.”
“Last Saturday, I got up cleaning my yard…and there they were, constantly circling my house with the window down enough…to look me in my face. Why do they…want to provoke me so I can say something…and they get out and arrest me for no reason at all. I’m gonna say this and I think I’m done…when I was arrested last year for nothing, and they towed my car…I had to pay $285 for the tow, and I went to jail…simply because I requested his badge number and his name. And I was dog-cussed and shoved over the car…and went to jail.”
“When I was here the last time, I asked ‘when is this gonna stop?’…with the chief sitting here. He sat there like…when they kill you, that’s when it’s gonna stop…then somebody had to say something before he would respond. I finally told the mayor that he never called me. Then one day when I was walking, he (Chief St John) sent an officer out there…Oscar…to get my cell phone number. To which I was reluctant to give out…because they have a tendency to eardrop on you through your cell phone about anything you talk about. I’ve been under surveillance for the last 30 years…and if I was a dope-pusher here in this city…after 30-something years, why haven’t they caught me?”
Mayor Robert Smith intervened to remind Ross that he had 30 seconds left to speak.
“Ok”, Ross said. “I wish these people would leave me alone, because…I’m not gonna be shot down in this city…and just believe that!”
Mayor Smith then asked Ross, again, if a meeting was set up between Ross and Chief McQueen. Ross answered that they would meet tomorrow (Wednesday)
Anthony Nelson Applies for Columbus Police Chief Position
Current Youth Detention Center Director and former Lowndes sheriff candidate Anthony Nelson told me that he was one of the applicants for the permanent Columbus police chief job, Tuesday. Nelson also said he understood that the Columbus police chief must have a 4-year degree, to which Nelson has, he said.
Nelson recently ran for Lowndes County sheriff as a Democrat, but finished second in the race to current police chief and sheriff-candidate Selvain McQueen. McQueen won more than 50% of the vote in the Democrat primary, therefore avoiding having to runoff with Nelson.
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com0