With deposits amounting to approximately $99,000 over a seven-year period and approximately $16,000 allegedly unaccounted for at the Coal Bin Thrift Store, Benham City Council and some residents asked Mayor Wanda Humphrey to request Kentucky State Police to investigate financial records of the business.
The former store, located near city hall, previously was operated by former mayor and council member Shirley Dodd while she was in part under the administration of her husband, former Mayor John Dodd, according to council members’ comments during a meeting on Thursday.
Proceeds from the store were to be used for the city. An account was set up at Commercial Bank in Cumberland with two people authorized to write checks on the account — Shirley Dodd and Monette Creech, according to information presented during the meeting.
After a detailed list of deposits and expenditures were distributed to council and the audience at a meeting on Thursday, Councilman George Massey, along with Darrell Creech, stated there needs to be an accounting for receipts and expenditures.
“Tater (John Dodd) always said he’d paid for the pig roast and Veteran’s Day events,” said Massey. “All this spending should have been approved by the council members, but we heard nothing about it in council meetings. This needs to be looked at by the state police.”
Humphrey said during the seven-year period only one or two financial reports were submitted to the city.
Humphrey said $3,400 was paid to Carl Hatfield for signs to place in the city, while Massey commented those signs were still in the possession of the Dodds.
A motion was made and approved to write a letter to the Dodds asking them to return the signs. The police will deliver the letter.
Humphrey said she has requested records, and paid for the copies herself, from Commercial Bank, BB&T and the Bank of Harlan. She said she contacted the state auditor’s office and a local auditor’s office and hopes to have an audit done on the city and the Coal Bin Thrift Store in the near future.
Checks were written to the city for $10,400 and for utilities totalling $14,229.05.
Prior to the meeting, Shirley Dodd provided the Enterprise with a list of things she said the Coal Bin Thrift Store paid for during the seven years she was overseeing that account.
She said she paid for all the city’s utilities and paid for a John Deere lawnmower for the city with payments amounting to $17,400.
Dodd said she paid for repairs to the roof, kitchen, counter tops, stove, sink and refrigerator, along with ceilings, walls and the purchase of laminate flooring at city hall.
In total, there were more than 30 items listed in the list she provided. She did not list the amounts spent on most of the items listed.
“Mayor John Dodd authorized the Coal Bin account at Commercial Bank, as long as it was legal, and I feel it was,” said Shirley Dodd. “I feel like this is a vendetta against John and I. We have worked diligently for the city putting in many hours into getting grants and bettering the community. All the expenses for the purchase of the pig for the pig roast was paid for by John himself. John also paid all the expenses for the Veteran’s Day programs and I have receipts. The good citizens of Benham know that John and I did all we could for the city during the time we served in office.”
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-909-4147 or on Twitter @Nola_hde