Tag Archives: Rockwood

Audit: Rockwood Man Bought $32,726 in Guns, Cameras and Clothes With City Credit Card

News release from comptroller’s office:
Investigators from the Comptroller’s office have discovered that a former Rockwood city coordinator used a city credit card and a city store charge card to purchase at least $32,725 in property and services for his personal benefit over a period of about three years.
These personal purchases included nearly $12,000 in guns, ammunition and firearm accessories, more than $7,000 in clothing, nearly $6,000 for camera equipment, more than $4,000 in online college tuition and nearly $4,000 for other miscellaneous personal items.
An investigative audit released today details how the former coordinator, Tom Pierce, used the city credit card to purchase at least 11 guns, including a tactical shot gun, a .308 rifle, a .44 caliber revolver, and two 9 mm pistols. These guns were registered to Pierce personally, not on behalf of the city. He also used the city credit card to purchase holsters, rifle scopes, tactical sights and ammunition.
Additionally, Pierce used the city credit card to also purchase clothing for his personal benefit at a total cost of $7,263. The clothing purchased includes polo shirts, cargo shorts, underwear, socks, women’s jeans, suit separates and running shoes. Additionally, the report details how Pierce used the city credit card to purchase premium cameras and photography equipment costing at least $5,697, including two Olympus cameras priced at more than $1,200 each. Although the city owned various inexpensive digital cameras used by employees, both the current mayor and the former mayor told the Comptroller’s investigators that they had no knowledge Pierce had purchased premium camera equipment at the city’s expense.
According to the Comptroller’s report, Pierce used the city credit card to charge business management courses totaling $4,190 from an online college and also used the city credit card to purchase other personal items with a total value of $3,675, which included protein powder, testosterone booster, digital music, books and movies.
Investigators determined that all of these charges were paid for with city funds. Both the current mayor and the former mayor told investigators that they had no knowledge Pierce had purchased the personal items at the city’s expense, either. They also indicated that they would not have given permission for the city to pay for such expenses.
“It is unacceptable for people in positions of public trust to abuse that trust at the expense of local taxpayers,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “I commend our investigators for helping to bring these issues to light. I also want to thank the district attorney and his staff for the work they have done on this case.”
This month, the Roane County Grand Jury returned a seven-count indictment against Pierce for theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and official misconduct.
To view the Comptroller’s report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/
To view photos of some of the personal items purchased with city funds, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/repository/NR/20130227RockwoodReleasePictures.pdf

Buying Guns With City Money Deemed a Firing Offense

Rockwood Mayor James Watts says he’s recommending that City Council on Monday fire Tom Pierce, the city’s longtime public works director, reports the News Sentinel.
An investigation of records shows that Pierce in 2010 used the city’s credit card to buy 13 weapons — including an assault rifle — at a cost of “somewhere around $6,000,” Watts said.
…Pierce at first told officials he needed the weapons “for personal protection in working with animal control,” Watts said.
“When we got into it, and there were that many weapons involved, it changed the course of what we were looking at,” the mayor said.
The city also is looking into Pierce’s purchases of clothing with the city credit card, Watts said,

Recall Effort Launched Against Rockwood Mayor

ROCKWOOD — The man who launched a recall move against the city’s mayor and a council member says the move was sparked by a council vote against rezoning land for a new industry, according to Bob Fowler.
“They refused to allow a company to come in here and put jobs in the marketplace in Rockwood,” Stephen Rose said.
Rose said he submitted the proposed petition earlier this month to the Roane County Election Commission for its approval.
The action, he said, is in response to the August vote by City Council that rejected rezoning for LocoDocs Inc., an Illinois firm that had eyed Rockwood for its new headquarters.
Council in a 3-2 decision approved rezoning, but four votes were needed for passage.
The recall petition targets Mayor James Watts and Councilwoman Jane Long and alleges “malfeasance and general failure in duties.” The petition contends the officials failed to “provide proper oversight, guidance and leadership to the city and its departments and employees.”
Watts on Wednesday said he was puzzled by the recall effort since as mayor he only votes to break ties, and the decision to reject rezoning wasn’t deadlocked.