Shepherdsville officials to investigate missing city equipment - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Shepherdsville officials to investigate missing city equipment

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Mayor Scott Ellis Mayor Scott Ellis
Gayelle Rummage Gayelle Rummage

By Connie Leonard - bio | email

SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For weeks, WAVE 3 has reported details of the big financial mess the City of Shepherdsville is in. Mayor Scott Ellis says the city is more than $4 million in the red and it seems no one is certain what happened to the missing money. Now, there are new accusations of negligence when it comes to that taxpayer money.

At the Feb. 14 city council meeting, the first thing on the agenda was trying to figure out which bills to pay first. Council members and Ellis, who inherited the shortfall, had to shuffle around bills, trying to figure out a $58,000 Louisville Gas and Electric bill, even cashing out certificates of deposit to help pay those bills. But to make matters worse, there's a new problem.

On Feb. 11, a piece of city equipment, a skid loader worth more than $32,000, was returned to the city. But it was a piece of equipment council members admitted they didn't know existed.

WAVE 3 News obtained documents showing the equipment was purchased by city Capitol Projects Director Robert Bright, Jr., who goes by Junior Bright. His wife, Gayla Mattingly Bright, the city treasurer, signed the check to Whayne Supply for the equipment in Feb. 2009. Now, many taxpayers are alleging that Bright, who is on medical leave, was using that equipment for the last two years for a side business.

Former city worker Gaynell Rummage got a round of applause from those attending the meeting after calling for a criminal investigation and asking council members to wake up.

"Was that individual (Bright) renting that equipment back to the city and getting paid for it?" Rummage asked. "There are a thousand questions out there. Has anybody thought about asking any questions like that?"

According to Rummage, it's like a person working at the bank who takes money. But then find out the bank knows you took the money, so you bring into the bank and it put it back. Rummage asked if that person would be terminated and prosecuted.

When asked about people accusing Bright of using the equipment for private business, even for the former mayor, Ellis responded, "We've heard all of it and I got some phone calls and I said to those people, ‘Did you see him (Bright) bring it back?'"

Ellis went on to say that several people had access to the equipment, and said, "You can't be pointing fingers at anyone until you know."

Ellis told us they plan to bring Bright in and ask him about the use of the equipment. If necessary, the matter will be turned over to police.

During the meeting, the council did vote to hire a financial consultant at $150 an hour to help get the city out of its financial mess.

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