Saturday, August 07, 2004

Once a Thief, Always a Thief

Remember Tom Jones, executive assistant and long-time power broker for Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout? He was dismissed from office in 2003 by new County Mayor AC Wharton when an investigation was launched into his personal use of a County credit card. Jones was convicted and is supposed to be in jail. Legal maneuvering has kept him free until this month, when he finally reports for his year-and-a-day.

Little remarked on at the time was that the State Comptroller report which launched the investigation was common knowledge around County offices as far back as April of that year. Why the whole matter was suppressed until after the election is a matter for the reader to speculate on.

Jones was not the only person caught misusing County credit cards -- even Rout had some bills to repay -- but he was the only one publicly hung out to dry. Jones was made an example for others, and his removal allowed Wharton to bring in his own folks.

Now, according to this story at WMC5, Jones has, with the help of an as-yet unidentified co-conspirator, attempted to double his pension!
In August of 2002, after decades of service and amid questions of County Credit card use, Tom Jones left County Government. Mayor A C Wharton had decided not to reappoint him.

Because he was under 55, he qualified for the County's early retirement plan, for which he enrolled.

He turned 55 in April of 2003....

But Action News 5 has learned that in May of this year, Jones sent a letter to the County asking to be re-instated and in keeping with County law was put back on the payroll.

It didn't last long, but it was long enough.

"But in that time period, he went from under 55 to over 55. Retirement over 55 allows you a substantial more payout per month," said Moss.

Thousands more. In Jones' case, his pension checks were doubled.
Notice that although public perception is of dismissal, he was merely "not reappointed." The story notes that the County Pension Board was bypassed by someone. I hope further investigation identifies this person.

It seems the old-boy network is still alive and well.

Mayor AC Wharton is reported to be uncharacteristically angry. Good. Kick some ass, OK?

No comments: