Thursday, May 22, 2014

Comptroller: Brighton Mayor Used Public Employees for Private Work

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 11:32 AM

The mayor of Brighton, Tenn., in nearby Tipton County, used city employees to help build a house for his son, according to an investigation by the Tennessee State Comptroller’s office.

Mayor Jeff Scott
  • Mayor Jeff Scott
Mayor Jeff Scott sent two public works employees to the property owned by his son, Hunter Scott. At first, the employees thought they were sent to locate a water main on the property, according to the Comptroller. Then they were ordered to remove tree stumps, do some landscaping work, and prepare and pour the house’s foundation.

The employees used a city-owned backhoe, dump truck, trailer and two other vehicles. Mayor Jeff Scott oversaw their work during most of the three days they were on the construction site, according to the Comptroller.

Jeff Scott instructed the employees to leave the hours off of their city time cards. Instead, he told them they’d be paid by the project’s private contractor.

The contractor, a friend of the mayor’s, paid the public works employees and reimbursed the city $200 for the use of the backhoe. The contractor told investigators he did not have a contracting license and was only helping the Scotts.

Investigators in the Comptroller’s office recommended Brighton’s board of mayor and aldermen calculate the city’s cost for the project and seek reimbursement from the mayor, his son, and the contractor.

“It is unacceptable for officials to use public resources for the exclusive benefit of private individuals,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said in a statement. “People pay taxes and fees with the expectation that money will be fairly distributed to provide services to all citizens, not just a select few who happen to know somebody at city hall. I commend our investigators for their fine work in bringing these issues to light.”

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