GFPB CEO talks recent charges against previous URA Director

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An investigation by the Arkansas State Police that began in July 2022 has resulted in criminal charges being filed against the former director of the Pine Bluff Urban Renewal Agency who allegedly worked with a former Pine Bluff resident to steal $667,384 from the agency over a nearly two-year period.

Maurice Taggart and Roderick Morris, who owes a business in the Houston Texas area have been charged with 38 counts of theft of property and 46 counts of second-degree forgery, The company owned by Morris submitted invoices to Taggart claiming to have done asbestos removal at multiple locations when they did not do so.

On Friday, Ryan Watley, the CEO of Go Forward Pine Bluff, which works closely with Urban Renewal, was asked how the investigation that led to the charges began.

Watley said that Griffin reported her findings to the Mayor, then came and told him because Urban Renewal and Go Forward Pine Bluff work closely together.

Asked directly if he had any involvement in the scheme, Watley said this.

Wately said Urban Renewal was created to work closely with Code Enforcement, which it is doing, to clean up the city.

Watley went on to talk about what is contained in the probable cause affidavit.