City employees misspend $100,000 on LED TV, alcohol, gift cards

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An audit of Canton Municipal Utilities finds 12 former and current employees misspent $101,829.76, according to Mississippi State Auditor Shad White.

Among the 12 is former Canton Municipal Utilities Executive Director Kenneth Wayne Jones, who was issued a demand for $78,612.81 and is said to have used city money to purchase a Samsung LED TV, an Amazon Fire TV Stick and issued himself illegal severance pay.

White says severance pay for public officials is prohibited by Mississippi statutes.

Civil demands for the money have also been issued to:

The late Charles Weems – $4,308.00
Cleotha Williams – $3,722.20
Cleveland Anderson – $3,671.15
LC Slaughter – $3,542.02
Charlie Morgan – $2,370.49
John Noble – $1,937.51
Silbrina Wright – $1,239.50
Robert Chinn – $983.57
Simon Collier – $588.90
Miriam Koury – $458.94
Stacey Spencer – $394.67

Each current and former board member was issued a demand related to voting to approve personal purchases made by Canton Municipal Utilities employees with a procurement card. 

White says the purchases were approved from Nov. 2015 until Nov. 2017 and included alcohol and gift cards.
 
“When this many people violate purchasing laws, you have an organization that needs to entirely rethink its practices,” White said. “Typically, we do not have cause to issue this many demands to a single organization, but that is the case here.”

“Ratepayers and others who put their faith in Canton Municipal Utilities need to be made whole, and the people receiving these demands are personally responsible for paying this money back.”

“I applaud our investigative team for working quickly and carefully to bring these problems to light.”

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