Taxpayers lose money after TN mayor stores sensitive material in trunk of car

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — There’s no point keeping the city’s most sensitive financial records in a safe place, say a vault or a bank, when the mayor can just as easily store them in his car.

Or around his house.

That’s what happened in Philadelphia, Tenn., according to an audit state Comptroller Justin Wilson released this week.

If you assume theft of taxpayer money happened as result of such sloppiness, you guessed correctly — more than $5,000.

Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson

According to Wilson, City Hall suffered extensive damage last year, although his audit failed to explain how or why.

City officials apparently had no other place to keep those documents.

Tennessee Watchdog tried to speak with one or more officials at City Hall, but three of the four numbers listed were out of service, possibly due to the aforementioned fire.

A message did reach the voicemail of the city recorder, and we sent an email. No one immediately responded.

Philadelphia is in Loudon County, and no one at that county’s sheriff’s department or district attorney’s office returned messages, either.

The audit doesn’t mention the name of the mayor who kept these records inside his car, but it does say he resigned in November due to the “recent breach of financial security.”

The audit said an unidentified person who lived with the mayor took city checks for his own use.

“Beginning in August 2013, without the knowledge of the mayor and board of aldermen, 11 of those city checks were completed in amounts totaling $5,476 and cashed by either the individual who had taken them or by his acquaintances,” the audit said.

“When the former mayor became aware that unauthorized city checks were being cashed, he contacted local law enforcement officials, who initiated an investigation. That investigation resulted in several indictments.”

CHECKS: According to state audits, this is one of the checks Rosie Boston used to allegedly steal money from the city of Philadelphia, Tenn.

The audit didn’t elaborate on the indictments, but it did say comptrollers investigated other city officials’ possible involvement.

In a separate matter, comptrollers reported that former city recorder Rosie Boston allegedly cashed $638 in unauthorized city checks and used that money on herself and her friends.

A Loudon County grand jury indicted Boston last month on three counts of official misconduct and two counts of forgery, according to the audit.

Tennessee Watchdog was unable to find Boston’s contact information Thursday.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org. or follow him and submit story ideas on his official Facebook page.

Get regular Tennessee Watchdog updates through our Facebook or Twitter accounts

Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!

Please, feel free to “steal our stuff”! Just remember to credit Watchdog.org. Find out more

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

Top