SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) – During their meeting on Feb. 14, Shepherdsville city leaders learned about a $32,000 piece of equipment owned by the city that had been returned to them three days earlier. The only problem – before it was returned, city leaders didn't know they owned it. So we caught up with the Shepherdsville employee responsible for the purchase and asked him about accusations that he had been using the equipment for his private business and the circumstances around his work release from a southern Indiana jail.
"I think everybody needs to know the facts before they go running their mouth saying stuff that's not true," said Robert "Junior" Bright.
Bright is the capitol projects superintendent for Shepherdsville and the man who bought the $32,000 skid loader in 2009. In addition to the controversy about skid loader, we uncovered documents showing that Bright was still drawing a city paycheck while on work release after being convicted of a crime in Harrison County, IN. We asked him if the taxpayers of Shepherdsville have a right to be upset after this out.
"No, I really don't because this ain't got nothing to do with anything," Bright said.
According to Bright, he is being singled out by a group of people who can't stand Sherman Tinnell, the former Shepherdsville mayor.
"It was all because I supported Sherman Tinnell at the time," said Bright of the criticism toward him. "He was my boss, so I'm going to support my boss."
We do know a large group of taxpayers are upset at Tinnell for the budget mess the city of Shepherdsville has found itself in - $4 million in the red. Many of those residents attending the City Council meeting on Valentine's night wanted to know why the city had no idea it owned a $32,000 skid loader purchased by Bright.
They contend they have information that Bright was using the loader for a side business, and was even doing private work with the machine for Tinnell at his home. So I asked Bright if he ever took rock loads to Tinnell's house with that loader.
"That is another allegation that somebody has made that is a lie, that is not true," said Bright.
Bright also told us he has no idea how the loader got back on city property last week. We asked him where it has been the last two years.
"I couldn't tell you," said Bright. "It should have been on a job. Most generally, it stayed right there at the shop, locked up inside the shop."
Bright says everything that happened was approved by the former mayor and should have been questioned by the council.
"If it comes across their desk to approve bills that month, somebody should have been saying what is this money for," said Bright.