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ZACHARY, La. (WAFB) - Tensions between leaders in the City of Zachary’s government reached a fever pitch this week following news of a legislative audit into questionable spending and calls for the city’s mayor to resign.
Councilman Lael Montgomery posted a lengthy video on his social media pages. In the video, Montgomery brandished a gun and dared the son of Zachary’s mayor to approach him in person.
“Run up on me with your fake threats and all of that. I shoot like a navy seal,” said Mongomery, in the video.
In an interview with WAFB just hours later, Montgomery explained the mayor’s son took issue with him calling for the mayor to resign or be investigated because of the audit’s findings.
Montgomery provided copies of public exchanges he had with the mayor’s son.
“I’m not kidding, this guy is the dumbest man on Earth ... I’d love to debate him about any topics on Earth,” stated a post attributed to Blake Amrhein, the mayor’s son.
“Anyways, where do you want to meet?” asked a different post.
The post went on to list a street in Zachary where Montgomery has property. Montgomery said he felt the criticism from the mayor’s son was threatening.
“I felt like I was being threatened. Somebody was trying to figure out where I was laying my head, where my kids were so I felt threatened. My PTSD kicked in and I showed my weapon to let them know that I will protect my family. I was in the military and that’s what I was trying to do,” explained Montgomery.
“[Montgomery] decided to take that to and turn it into a harassment and bullying thing,” said Blake Amrhein in a follow-up interview.
He told WAFB he felt threatened after seeing the gun in Montgomery’s post.
“To be threatened in your own community by someone who is supposed to be a community leader is kind of a sad day for Zachary. I never thought I’d see the day,” said Blake Amrhein.
He added he is exploring legal options against Montgomery, which could include pressing charges. Zachary Police Chief David McDavid told WAFB he had not been made aware of any criminal complaints filed against Montgomery.
David Amrhein, Zachary’s mayor, called Montgomery’s actions a “disgrace” in an interview with WAFB Thursday.
“We’re trying to teach kids not to use guns to settle problems, but we have a council member who thinks that’s the way we [should] settle problems,” said David Amrhein.
At the center of the issue is the audit, which found David Amrhein approved million dollars in payments to two vendors without making them sign contracts.
The legislative audit, released Tuesday, did not identify the vendors, or explore in detail the reasons why the mayor chose not to file contracts with those vendors.
David Amrhein defended his actions by saying the behavior was normal and should not have sparked Montgomery’s reaction.
“We know exactly what [the vendors] are going to charge for every job they do. And the council is the one that approves the budget. It’s all in the budget. I can’t make them come by and look at it,” explained David Amrhein
He refused to release the names of the vendors to WAFB, saying he did not want to do anything that could potentially harm the businesses. He also denied having a relationship with the vendors.
When asked if either vendor had donated to his campaign, David Amrhein said he was “sure” they had made contributions.
He claimed the contributions had no influence over his decision, and instead, he chose them because of the quality and price of their work.
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