The former director of Grapevine (Texas) Parks and Recreation, as well as the city’s director of Libraries were found to have taken more than $58,000 in city funds for personal use.
Two independent investigations have now concluded that parks director Kevin Mitchell used $33,359 of the city’s money, and libraries director Ruth Chiego used $24,916.
Mitchell used the money on football tickets and Apple products, and Chiego spents the money on furniture and Amazon purchases.
The city released this statement nearly two weeks ago, saying:
“The City of Grapevine takes its responsibility as a fiduciary of taxpayer dollars seriously. As such, we employ both internal and external auditing of expenditures to insure compliance with city policy, generally accepted accounting practices and State law. Recently, a member of our finance staff raised a question about two department heads and purchases they made on their Purchasing Card (P-Card) that appeared to be personal. Of course, personal expenses on a City P-Card are not and have never been allowed by any City employee.”
According to the Fort Worth CBS affiliate, the City Manager’s office then took the following steps:
- Retained an outside forensic auditor to review the P-Card purchases for both employees whose spending was questioned, and further tasked them with reviewing a significant number of other P-Card purchases to assess citywide compliance.
- The outside forensic audit report completed in mid-January, was provided to the City’s external auditor.
- The report made recommendations for internal control improvements which were immediately instituted. Further, the auditor identified the personal purchase transactions made by the two department heads.
- Both department heads resigned and are required to pay back the funds spent for personal use as recommended by the audit firm.”
Following the February audit, Chiego resigned and Mitchell retired.
The Grapevine City Council has since introduced a new process for employees using city funding that includes:
- Every department head transaction approved by finance
- Staff level transactions are approved by department supervisor and finance
- Any questionable transactions are forwarded to City Manager’s office
Mitchell and Chiego have both paid back the amount that was taken.