The Tennessee NAACP is "deeply concerned" after the state comptroller is set to take over the finances of Mason, a small, majority Black town.
According to The Huffington Post, Republican Comptroller Jason Mumpower announced last week that his office would be managing the town's budget, citing state code that gives him the authority to do so if the town is being "poorly managed."
Mumpower, who is white, says the town of Mason owes $600,000 back to its water and sewer account, and will now have the power to approve or reject spending over $100.
Mason Vice Mayor Virginia Rivers, who is Black, told the Tennessee Lookout that the move is "akin to a hostile takeover."
Earlier this month, Mumpower posted a public letter threatening the financial takeover if the town didn't "relinquish its charter" which would place it under the most-white, mostly-Republican county government. Mason leaders voted against relinquishing the charter.
State NAACP President Gloria Sweet-Love told the Huff Post Tuesday (March 22) that the take over "smells like day-old catfish" after noting that previous fraud and financial mismanagement was clear under prior white and Republican control and yet the comptroller didn't takeover then.
Sweet-Love also noted that a Ford manufacturing plant is expected to open nearby in 2025, which would bolster Mason's tax-base and bring jobs to the area.
"It seems mighty strange to us ... all of a sudden when the majority of elected officials are Black and Ford Motor Company is going to be within 4.5 miles of this little city that could begin to see an increase in revenue, all of a sudden they want to take over," Sweet-Love said.