County Credit Card Probe: Simple Oversight or Turning a Blind Eye?

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) - From food for the jail to medicine for the health department, Knox County pays for a lot of its supplies and equipment by credit cards issued directly to county workers.

But come Monday, Volunteer TV’s Gordon Boyd tells us, one county employee will have to come clean, to prove she hasn't spent your tax dollars on herself or her family.

Questions have been stirring for several weeks.

Are these sins of omission, simply no paper trail, no oversight. Or commission, private fun-time on your public dime?

“How do you get beyond a month of something like this happening?” Boyd asks Knox County Mayor’s Office spokesman Dwight van de Vate.

“That's a good question, that's one of the things we want to sort out,” he says.

The Knox County Mayor's Office knows that Community Services Executive Assistant Requitta Bone charged more than $21,000 on her County credit card this past year.

But where are the receipts for all of it?

“Before any employee is given a purchasing card, they're given purchasing card guidelines,” van de Vate says.

Chief among them, reconciling their bills every month, receipts for every expense to check they're all valid. Direct supervisors double-checking, and signing off.

“It's clearly outlined in the P-card regulations that you do not make personal expenses on your P-card,” van de Vate explains.

Leaving Requitta Bone to explain a flight to Detroit, a year ago today costing taxpayers $448, two flights to Orlando with her husband and son last July and September.

The second trip, buying food at Planet Hollywood, and a $433 car rental from Hertz.

“Certainly, we intend to seek restitution and hopefully, when these matters are brought before the employees attention, they're going to want to do the right thing,” van de Vate says.

County records show Bone has reimbursed taxpayers more than $200 for hotel expenses Alabama back in March.

Her boss, Cynthia Finch, also has paid back some of her own expenses.

But records show Finch also has signed off on Bone's monthly expense

“Whose fault is it then? The employee, or the manager, because it's the manager who signed off on it?” Boyd asks.

“Those are some of the questions we're going to sort out through the committee that's been named by the Mayor,” says van de Vate says.

Which is why, of the almost half of the 333 credit cards issue to Knox County Employees, Mayor Ragsdale has suspended almost all of those tied to the Executive Branch.

Requitta Bone is on paid leave, until the questions are resolved. She tells WVLT she won't say anything until then, and wants us to respect her privacy in the meantime.

County officials say she's one of the select few, to have a so-called open card, she buys most of the supplies for Community Services.

Her monthly credit limit is $4,999 and because Knox County carries no outstanding or disputed balances your tax dollars already have paid for it.


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