July 30, 2009

Mayor lies about Oxford mound

Smith says controversial mound was put at top of hill by natural forces

By Dan WhisenhuntMayor Leon Smith claimed Tuesday that a stone mound at the center of a simmering controversy was put there by natural forces, though an archaeological study commissioned by the city says it was almost certainly man-made.

In addition, Smith and City Project Manager Fred Denney now say the hill's dirt is not being used as fill for a Sam's Club. Denney said he never said it was, even though he had confirmed it in multiple previous interviews.

Public documents also show this is the city's plan for the hill underneath the mound.

Located behind the Oxford Exchange, the hill has been the object of protest by American Indians upset by the city's actions. When a story about the hill's origins was first printed in late June, Smith and Denney said it had been used for smoke signals and said the site was insignificant.
More of the mayor's prevarications:Smith's office e-mailed a press release with his most recent comments to The Star Tuesday afternoon before Oxford's City Council meeting. In it, he says the city will keep an expert on hand as recommended by the report's authors, even though he insists the mound is the result of "natural phenomena."

He also says none of the rocks and soil associated with the mound will be used as fill for the Sam's project. He also said "no construction activities are planned for the hill and associated stone mound," a statement contradicted by another part of the letter, which says the city needs the expert on hand "during the course of development activities."

After Tuesday's meeting Smith could not provide a clear answer about why work crews have been seen on top of the mound, but he said they were not getting dirt from it.

"Not one spoonful of dirt has been carried down," he said.
Comment:  When politicians start changing their stories like this, it's a good sign that they're feeling the heat.

For more on the subject, see Activists Protest Mound's Destruction and Sam's Club vs. Indian Mound.

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