Brentwood Mayor Xzavier Montgomery-Wright said she has repaid all but $1,000 of more than $7,500 she allegedly withdrew on a town debit card she obtained and used to cover her personal expenses.
And she said she has a new home days after being evicted.
Montgomery-Wright spoke Monday night during a five-hour meeting of the Brentwood Town Council in which residents called for her arrest, asked her to step down and questioned her budget priorities.
“I am appalled that she has the audacity to sit up there as our mayor,” Gina Morlan, a lifelong resident of Brentwood, said in an interview Tuesday. “The mayor and the council are sending a message that it is okay to take money from the taxpayers.”
Earlier this year, Montgomery-Wright was censured by town officials for obtaining and using a debit card without council approval. An external auditor has been hired to examine allegations that she used the card to cover more than $7,500 in cellphone charges, a plane ticket and other expenses. Montgomery-Wright also has been dealing with eviction from the Brentwood home she had rented for about eight years. Her landlord said she owes him more than $7,000 in back rent.
Monday’s hearing was the first time that Montgomery-Wright had talked publicly about her eviction, the investigation and her need to find a new residence in the town so she could remain a candidate for reelection. “I wanted to make sure that I was in compliance with anything related to handling town business, so I did make that a priority,” she said.
She also called the discussion surrounding her plight a distraction.
Ann Wells, a resident of the community of about 3,000, chastised her. “You call it a distraction,” she said. “It is not a distraction. Unauthorized funds were taken, so it is not just a little distraction.”
Council members were criticized for allowing the mayor to remain in office. But council member Marlene Robinson said the panel’s hands were tied.