Someone is asleep in Paintsville and are about to be rudely awakened.
Recently at the Paintsville Tourism meeting, the new director brought to the attention of the commission that she has invoices that are to be paid but has no idea what they are for.
She said the invoices have no information or details other than an email address. When a Tourism employee was pressed for information, the employee said that she was told by the previous director to just push the invoices through to be paid.
The new director, Chesi Arnett, said she has one for $7700 for services for the year of 2022, and someone is expecting payment on that. But she stated she has no idea what services the commission has received. Nor can she verify services rendered or material purchased.
For many years, the Tourism Commission has had issues. The problem is that someone is running the commission and it’s not the commission. I would say that a forensic audit would reveal that someone is getting kick backs from the commission. Or worse, taking/stealing money.
Arnett discovered that the commission was paying for a storage unit that housed personal items from the previous director. So public funds were being used for personal use. And the commission knew what was happening and did nothing to stop that until it was brought into the light by this newspaper.
Something stinks real bad with the way the commission has been run over the years. There are many board members who sit on that committee who are well-educated and should know how to mange a business. And to blindly approve invoices to be paid without any backup, is almost criminal and says that someone is hiding something or being forced to turn a blind eye.
After Arnett addressed the large unidentified invoice to the commission, they were silent. No questions were asked, no action was taken to explore the genesis of that invoice or the others that the commission have been paying for who knows how long. Just deafening silence. That shows someone knows something and is either afraid to speak up or is part of the corruption.
Arnett, so far has uncovered what appear on the surface as wrongdoings. And if there are no explanations for these erroneous invoices and the payments made over the years, each commissioner needs to be held accountable and forced to personally pay that money back to Tourism out of their own pocket. And if it is discovered that criminal misconduct has happened, then the perpetrators should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The lack of action by the commissioners shows that they are not interested in finding out what’s happening with the money or that they just don’t care. Ether way that board needs to be reevaluated and new, more competent members need to oversee Tourism. What is happening is an embarrassment and reeks of corruption.