THE HUNTER REPORT
CLEAR THE AIR OR MUDDY THE WATER?
CLICK TO SEE STREAMING VIDEO - JOHNSON-SIMPSON - AFTER COUNCIL MEETING
By: Pat Hunter
As Mayor Tony Aikens addressed routine business matters on the April 11th Lenoir City Council agenda, he asked for "Reports from members of City Council". Councilman Eddie Simpson asked to speak on "two comments" not at the beginning but at the end of the meeting. Much later during the meeting, the public would learn that his comments didn't appear to have anything to do with a committee report. Instead, Councilman Simpson used the bully pulpit to advance his agenda; front page banner "Simpson clears air on allegations". Click to see FAMILY COMMENTS BACKFIRE
Councilman Simpson began by saying that he wanted to respond to a News Herald article written a couple of months ago. Simpson explained that he tried to shrug it off but he felt it was time to explain his knowledge of Mr. Johnson's "allegations of alleged threats, etc. that I have been accuse of." Councilman Simpson explained the series of events. Click to view: EDDIE SIMPSON'S 10-MINUTE SPEECH pdf. (Note: most of what was said)
CLICK TO SEE STREAMING VIDEO Eddie Simpson...THEY LEFT OUT #10 OF THE AUDIT REPORT...
Then Councilman Simpson gave his "Summary - This is what happened as best as I recall. The threat from me never happened, unless you consider doing the right thing, and telling Mr. Johnson to be fair, and that what he did was not showing good leadership, and saying it's the "Kettle calling the Pot Black". I have no regrets on my handling of this matter. I also find it interesting what or where the source is that The News Sentinel and our critics web pages have information on "private" city documents, and when reporting certain findings especially on the audit, they left out #10 of the audit report that states; "an employee which was at that time an elected official on three different occasions, purchases were made with City funds which one was later repaid".
Councilman Simpson's comments (highlight area above) couldn't be more wrong! Lets examine his comments; factual, political rhetoric, or misinformation:
THE HUNTER REPORT featured an entire article on March 15, 2011 regarding the 2010 Lenoir City Audit and Findings. The audits were obtained from the Tennessee Comptroller's website. The audits included the City of Lenoir City Audit (pdf) including ALL discrepancies and findings e.g. Finding #10, Lenoir City Utilities Board Audit, and the Lenoir City Board of Education Audit. ALL three audits and findings were posted on THE HUNTER REPORT website for anyone to see including Councilman Simpson but he seems to be unaware or confused; not sure which.
CLICK TO VIEW THE HUNTER REPORT - PAPER TRAIL - LENOIR CITY AUDIT CITES NUMEROUS FINANCIAL DEFICIENCIES - MARCH 15, 2011 LENOIR CITY AUDIT REPORT ENDING JUNE 30, 2010 164 pages PDF
CLICK TO VIEW OPERATING DEFICIENCIES 154 -bottom page to 157 page - City of Lenoir City - Findings, Recommendations and Management's Reply (recommended for dial-up service)
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Loudon County News Herald ran a front page story on March 16-17, 2011 (on-line website March 15, 2011) captioned "Audit: City employees misused funds". Most of the two page news article addressed Finding (#10 - 10) and named Bobby Johnson Jr. and his reply to the allegations. "One finding states a former city employee made three purchases on the city's account that were not for municipal purposes and no sales tax was paid on the purchases. Recently resigned city recorder/treasurer Bobby Johnson Jr. made the three purchases that included recreational balls, pens and calendars, Johnson said. Johnson's purchases were brought to City Administrator Dale Hurst's attention by an anonymous source several months ago. Hurst said he was unsure if the purchases were used for re-election purposes but Johnson's name was on the products. The products were not used for re-election purposes, but Johnson's name and title was on the items as they were used for his capacity as city recorder/treasurer, according to Johnson..." Interestingly, Councilman Simpson failed to mention Finding (# 10-11) in his 10 minute speech.
How could anyone say that the News Herald left out Finding 10 (three purchases) when most of the 1140 word article was dedicated to Finding 10 with just a small fraction of the other article going to Finding (checks)?
CLICK TO VIEW NEWS HERALD: Audit: City employees misused funds CLICK http://news-herald.net/story/12814
Click Thumbnails to Enlarge.
Knoxville News Sentinel March 16, 2011 article captioned CLICK TO VIEW Audit firm confirms cash misuse in Lenoir City government The article spoke about audit Finding #10. In part "LENOIR CITY - As an investigation continues into missing reprimands issued for four Lenoir City assistant clerks, the municipality's independent auditing firm confirms employees last year often used City Hall's cash drawer as a personal ATM. The disclosure was part of Brown, Jake & McDaniel's yearly audit to the city, released Tuesday. "We noticed some employees were cashing personal checks out of the cash drawer," according to the Knoxville-based CPA firm's report, which covers the fiscal year ending June 20, 2010. "Occasionally, these checks were being held and not immediately deposited." Auditors also found that a city employee made three purchases on city accounts that were not for municipal purposes. Other deficiency findings included the Lenoir City Utility Board's lack of documentation for travel and meals related to conferences..."
The Knoxville News Sentinel also included Finding 10!
What was the real purpose of Councilman Simpson's comments; was it to share his side of the story, or muddy the water?
Did Simpson really think that he could say something negative about a family member and get a pat on the back and some positive comments; I guess he found out differently?
Finding #10 was discussed in a News Herald and Knoxville News Sentinel articles, and THE HUNTER REPORT yet, Councilman Simpson was willing to get on his soapbox and make some baseless accusations!
It's disappointing that Councilman Simpson didn't follow his own advise. If Councilman Simpson wishes for some positive feedback from the community, I suggest that he do his homework and research instead of opting to make inflammatory comments, and false accusations.