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State Senate hopeful Pete Riehm calls for legislative investigation into Prichard Water Board scandal

The Prichard Water Board in Mobile County is at the center of a corruption investigation after the late February arrest of former board manager Nia Bradley.

Bradley faces the charges of aggravated theft by deception and theft of property in the first degree after it was found that she racked up excessive charges on a board-issued credit card. The investigation comes after an audit showed nearly $4 million in questionable charges and authorities conducting a raid on Bradley’s home.

WKRG News 5 reports that Bradley’s purchases included high-end luxury brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

Pete Riehm, Republican hopeful for Alabama Senate District 33, condemned the alleged corruption and made note of the “exorbitant” water bills he said customers have been subjected to.

“The reported embezzlement of some $4 million at the Prichard Water Board is shocking and unconscionable,” declared Riehm. “The reported extraordinary expenses for luxury items are an insult to the citizens of Prichard and especially the board’s poorest customers. The alleged malfeasance is compounded by the fact the Prichard Water Board has abused the citizens of Prichard for years and particularly those on fixed incomes with exorbitant water bills. And when questioned, they only offered to put their victims on a payment plan.”

Riehm called for the Alabama Legislature to conduct an investigation into the matter and to take necessary action to prevent similar abuses from occurring in the future.

“There must be a full investigation and those culpable should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Riehm added. “Further, there should be a full investigation into how this egregious situation was allowed to develop and persist for so long. The Prichard Water Board must undergo extensive reforms to ensure adequate oversight to prevent this from ever happening again. The Alabama legislature should also investigate and determine if any legislative actions or reforms should be implemented to protect the good people of Prichard from any further abuses.”

Riehm is vying to unseat longtime State Sen. Vivian Figures (D-Mobile), who has served in the legislature’s upper chamber since 1997. Last month, Riehm raised $23,740 in the historically Democrat majority district.

Publicly available campaign finance data shows that Figures has not filed a monthly report this year. Candidates must file a monthly report if their campaign raises or spends more than $1,000. Failure to file a monthly report after reaching the threshold is a violation of the Fair Campaign Practices Act, according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office.

Figures did not immediately respond to Yellowhammer News’ request for comment.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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