KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- Knox County mayor Mike Ragsdale and his senior staff have charged more than $40,000 to their county purchasing cards, without the proper paperwork to back up what they've spent.
All the money comes from the tax payer.
Mayor Ragsdale has not yet commented, but his office does officially have 10 days to answer.
This most recent revelation comes as part of the findings of the first draft of an audit that county commissioners demanded several months ago.
The audit covers the first four and a half years of his administration, up to last May, but what may be more troubling than the fact that there are no receipts, are the fact that there are some questionable receipts.
The audit traces back more than a quarter of the $40,000 that was charged, without receipts.
Almost $12,000 of the funds were spent by Requitta Bone, the assistant who resigned amid claims that she had charged trips and meals to her p-card.
It also reveals that Bone’s boss, former community services director Cynthia Finch, charged more than $8,200 to her p-card.
And the mayor himself appears to have charged more than $7,500, many on gas receipts in spite of having a county car and car allowance.
Margie Lloyd, the mayors former assistant who was also forced out, charged more than $6,800.
Chief of Staff Mike Arms, former finance director John Werner, and communications director Dwight Van de Vate also had charges without fully valid receipts.
Knox County policy requires employees and bosses to square up their charges each month, but auditors say the first firewall failed.
More than half, or 55 percent of the "non compliance" charges trace back to department heads who failed to sign off on the “square-ups.”
County commission hasn’t reviewed the audit's first draft yet, but its new chairman says some responses ought to be obvious.
“Evidently, it has gone several, several months,” said Tank Strickland, Knox County Commission Chairman. “If that's the case, it's very wrong and if they're deemed guilty, they should pay that money back.
The draft audit raises special concerns about former community services director Cynthia Finch.
Specifically as to if she “double-dipped,” by getting both Knox County and her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, to reimburse her expenses for getting the group to hold meetings and conventions in Knoxville.
Ms. Finch resigned earlier this month.
The Knox County law director and presumably, the Tennessee district attorney general will be reviewing the audit.
To read the draft audit, click on the links below:
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