Will P-card violators face legal action?

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's office has asked for, and will receive an extra 10 days to answer claims from an auditor.

Some Knox County residents and people serving in county government remain outraged at the alleged abuses, outline in the audit.

They want to know how spending by certain people could go unchecked for almost four and a half years, and if it was even legal.

Knox County Commissioner R. Larry Smith is among them.

“That's just elementary business practice,” he said. “You need to have a receipt in order to count that expense.”

Such an accounting practice is suppose to be true for the Knox County Government too.

County policy dictates that drink’s should never be paid for by the tax payer.

But according to a draft of the audit, Mayor Ragsdale and his senior managers have paid the county back about 2/3s of the amount of money they spent on alcohol with their P-Cards, about $1,844 worth of booze.

Mayor Ragsdale was also issued a county car and was given a car allowance of $20,000 a year.

Yet sources close to the audit say he could fill-up using his P-card, provided the allowance account paid the bill.

The problem is that auditors have no receipts for almost 3 dozen fill-ups totaling more than $1,200.

Auditors say they have way to prove whether he filled up his county car, or his own.

“If monies are due, they must be paid back,” said John Owings, the county law director. “And how you'd go about that? There are a number of ways.

Owings said he would prefer if the proven offender would just pay up, but the county could sue to recover the funds, or ask the district attorney to consider criminal charges.

“I would want the blessing of the commission,” he said.

At least one Commissioner thinks the audits shouldn't end at the Mayor's office.

“I want to go back and look at all the other offices that are out there,” said Smith.

Former Sheriff Tim Hutchison insists that auditors would find the sheriff's office is clean.

“Our department had P-cards when they started,” he said. “They sent me one, and I shredded it and anytime that I would travel, etc., I would just get reimbursed for it and turn in a receipt.”

Hutchison also claims Mayor Ragsdale and his senior staff seemed to be the only folks breaking the P-card rules.

“I'm looking at the Mayor's role in this,” said Smith. “What type of leadership is he going to play in taking the lead on this and in trying to correct these actions”

The mayor’s official response to the situation is expected to come in writing.

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  • by TROY Location: west knoxville on Mar 1, 2008 at 10:18 PM
    i think mayor ragsdale and most of his are crocks and should be in jail
  • by ejcehs Location: tn on Mar 1, 2008 at 06:01 PM
    what else have they done ?????????
  • by dale Location: tn on Mar 1, 2008 at 05:53 PM
    stealing is stealing its the same. if it had happen to me id be in jail
  • by claude Location: east knox co. on Mar 1, 2008 at 09:16 AM
    same old as usall that will give them exta days to comeup with more lies throw all of them out and have it done.
  • by mad tax pay er Location: s knox county on Mar 1, 2008 at 06:33 AM
    resend to wheeel tax NOW
  • by chris on Mar 1, 2008 at 05:50 AM
    If this was found in the private sector it would be found a crime. Since when do people in political offices have free passes when they commit fraud,emblezzlement, and outright stealing? There should be criminal charges. This was not a one time thing but was an ongoing issue. What a mess!!!!
  • by Lisa Location: Knox on Mar 1, 2008 at 03:01 AM
    are you kidding me? We are sick of this, his beer and gas money could have bought some books for the kids @ Fulton who dont have any. This play dumb routine is old. And if they dont know their jobs by now they should get out anyway. I cant wait for the investigation to start in the Juvenile Court office. Check their budget, grants and training. Ahh and the double billing...
  • by dean on Feb 29, 2008 at 09:31 PM
    If you ask me, i think that is stealing! Start with Ragsdale, im not calling him " mayor", because i see him a thief, liar, and you can see his guilt in any of the latest pictures or videos of him. He dont know what to say or do. And the same goes for the rest of the corrupt bunch of no counts that also done the deed. SHAME on them.


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