‘Becoming’ Unemployed: Texas mayor resigns amid accusations of using city funds to see Michelle Obama

  This week, the mayor of a Texas town and the mayor pro-tem have both announced their resignation after they

Mayor Lyndia Thomas and Mayor Pro Tem Beckie Duncan Hayes thegrio.com
Forest Hill, Texas, Mayor Pro Tem Beckie Duncan Hayes and Mayor Lyndia Thomas (Image Credit: WFAA via YouTube)


This week, the mayor of a Texas town and the mayor pro-tem have both announced their resignation after they were accused of misappropriating over $1,000 of the city’s funds to attend Michelle Obama’s book tour.

According to WFAA, Wednesday, Lyndia Thomas and Beckie Duncan Hayes submitted their letters of resignation as mayor and mayor pro-tem, respectively, of the town of Forest Hill, Texas.

The announcements were made as a preemptive measure just before a meeting of Forest Hill City Council where accusations of misconduct and misuse of funds would be addressed. The main point of contention for many is that after the duo attended Michelle Obama’s sold-out Becoming book tour, they allegedly got reimbursed for tickets by the city.

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Despite giving up their posts, Hayes and Thomas defended their actions to the press and also explained why they chose to step down.

“I will not leave my fate in the hands of other individuals,” said Hayes.  “I am a woman of integrity, and the allegations, they have no substance.  They are false.”

Hayes concedes that she purchased two tickets for the book tour event for herself and the mayor then filed for reimbursement from the city’s public relations fund. The tickets were $540 each and because her request was approved by the city manager, she believes she did nothing unscrupulous. However, when she received critique for her actions, she opted to return the check and absorb the charge herself.

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“It doesn’t specify what we can do and where we can go,” she pointed out.  “But it’s set aside for us to go and learn and get involved.”

In addition to the Obama event, a citizen’s audit committee also flagged other questionable expenses that they believed to be lacking in documentation or approval from council.

“[The Obama event] had nothing to do with city business at all,” said former council member Michielle Benson.  “Public relations is supposed to make our city shine. That is not it.”

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Hayes and Thomas believe this trivial scandal is a smokescreen and that they are being targeted for political reasons. They say they are undeterred and plan to run for city council again in May.

“We don’t get a salary, but we are entitled to be reimbursed for our expenses,” Thomas said.  “We are not trying to hide anything.”