A report from the state Auditor of Public Accounts regarding the City of London (City) and the City of London Tourism and Convention Commission (Commission) was released on Tuesday morning. Mike Harmon, the state's auditor, outlined a number of concerns regarding the handling of tax monies and funding between the city and the Commission.
In his introductory letter, Harmon says, "Detailed findings and recommendations based on our examination are presented in this report to assist management in implementing corrective action. Overall, these findings indicate the following:
- “Expenditures of tourism funds generated by restaurant tax collections without adequate oversight and approval from the Commission.
- “Undefined roles and responsibilities of the Commission and City, which led to confusion, conflict, and ineffective operations and governance of the Commission.
- “Inconsistent financial processes and the improper award of employee bonuses from public and restricted funds.
- “Failure to follow procurement laws, as well as statutory budgeting and reporting requirements, established for tourism commissions.
- “Failure to properly maintain various financial and operational records."
City of London Mayor, Troy Rudder, apparently received a copy of the report in advance and replied, "Since the ending of your examination process of June 30, 2021, many of the circumstances of which you have been concerned are already remedied. Other situations that you have addressed will be addressed by contracts to the City of London Tourism and Convention Commission (‘Commission') by the City of London."
Mayor Rudder’s reply indicates that "many of the circumstances of which you have been concerned are already remedied," however, as no records of London City Council’s agendas or minutes have been posted since the day after the mayor indicates the audit ended, those changes remain unverified.
Any city council in Kentucky “shall have the right to investigate all activities of city government” per Kentucky Revised Statute 83A.130(13). At this time, no city council member or city official has indicated whether there was oversight or investigation by the London City Council into these areas of concern in London City Government.
Mayor Rudder has not returned a call to him today for comment. The other mayoral candidates voiced their concerns over “transparency” in city government.
“It’s a sad day for our city. However, this validates our mission and goals for the city. It’s vital that even in the city council, we don’t have a group of people just saying ‘yes’ to whatever is happening. The more significant question is, ‘Why didn’t anyone on the city council blow the whistle?’ They knew it was going on while they blame Troy Rudder and act as if this is all his fault. They knew it and did nothing. We must have transparency!!” Mayoral Candidate Randall Weddle said.
"Believe me, with Kirby as mayor it will no longer be business as usual. We want complete transparency within our city government. No smoke and mirrors unlike some candidates. We're going to clean up any corruption that's involved and we'll take a full review of the audit and get down to the bottom of it,” Mayoral Candidate Jacob Kirby said.
This is a developing story.
Billy Mosley, Lead Reporter for The Kentucky Daily