CANTON, MS (WLBT) - Tuesday, State Auditor Shad White announced that civil demands were issued to 12 current and former Canton municipal utilities employees.
The demands total $101,829.76 and include principle, interest, and investigative costs.
The following demands were issued:
Kenneth Wayne Jones – $78,612.81
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
Former Canton Municipal Utilities Executive Director Kenneth Wayne Jones was issued a demand for $78,612.81, which includes an illegal severance settlement agreement paid by Canton Municipal Authority to Jones, a Samsung LED television, and an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Severance pay for public officials is prohibited by Mississippi statutes and has been addressed by the Mississippi Attorney General multiple times. Both electronic items were purchased by Jones using a procurement card belonging to Canton Municipal Utilities during his employment and could not be found during a recent asset inventory.
Each board member was issued a demand related to voting to approve personal purchases made by Canton Municipal Utilities employees with a procurement card.
The purchases were approved from November 2015 until November 2017 and included alcohol and gift cards. One demand letter related to this case has not yet been delivered at this time.
"When this many people violate purchasing laws, you have an organization that needs to entirely rethink its practices. 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,” said State Auditor Shad White.