For some time citizens of Knox County have wondered if County Mayor Mike Ragsdale was the Emperor with no clothes. No matter what kind of mistake was made on the western end of the sixth floor of the City County Building or how serious that mistake is, it is always passed off as some trivial issue such as a bookkeeping mistake or clerical error. The news is always given by an underling and along with a positive quote from the County Mayor.
One Knox County taxpayer has had enough. Lewis Cosby called and talked with the County Mayor on the Hallerin Hill radio program on WNOX and questioned the Mayor Ragsdale for several minutes about the P-Card (purchasing credit card) abuse from the Mayor and his staff as well as the travel expenses for the Mayor, his Chief of Staff Mike Arms, Senior Communications Director Dwight Van de Vate and Chief Financial Officer John Werner. Mayor Ragsdale, as he so often does, was very positive and upbeat. When Lewis Cosby asked the Mayor if a person could examine the P-Card statements and receipts Mayor Ragsdale said, “Come on up anytime, I’ve never met you, I like to have a chance to talk to you, swing by someday.”
WBIR reports that Lewis Cosby did exactly that. In a television interview with WBIR Mr. Cosby, a former CPA who at one time audited Knox County government, expressed his shock with what he had found. Lewis Cosby said, “In all my career, these records as to expenditures and lack of documentation is some of the worst I have ever seen. Records are missing, receipts are missing, entire statements for certain people are missing.”
Lewis Cosby compiled a list of 59 questions about the P-Cards plus more about the Hospitality Account. Mr. Cosby says the Hospitality Account is negative and has been negative for two years. He can’t understand why the Mayor kept spending.
You can watch the Lewis Cosby interview on WBIR here.
Spokesman Dwight Van de Vate released this statement on Tuesday evening:
“At this point, the records in the Mayor’s Office are probably the most closely scrutinized records ever maintained by Knox County and everyone recognizes that there are places where improvement is needed. Obviously we don’t shy away from scrutiny.”
Mr. Van de Vate’s statement wears no clothes.