An investigation by the City of East Ridge led to the resignation earlier this week of the Director of Parks and Recreation along with a civilian employee of the police department and a firefighter.
The investigation centered on city employees working at Camp Jordan Park to officiate recreational league sports in violation of four separate provisions of the East Ridge City Code.
Adam Wilson, the Director of Parks and Recreation since September, 2018, Derrick Carden a clerk in charge of the property and evidence section of the police department, and Herbert “Drew” Andrews, an 18-year veteran of the fire department all resigned on Jan.10, according to documents provided by the City to East Ridge News Online.
All three individuals were given the option of responding to the allegations before City Manager Chris Dorsey. Andrews and Carden chose to meet with Dorsey but ultimately chose to resign.
In Wilson’s case, the city investigation concluded that Wilson “instructed and/or otherwise participated in the act of assisting Derrick Carden in circumventing the City’s policy against having City employees officiate organized recreation games at Camp Jordan Park.”
The investigation concluded that Carden approached Wilson about officiating games in the park. Wilson then told Carden that the city wouldn’t allow it but there were ways to get around it. The report states that Wilson informed Carden that he could submit an IRS Form W-9 with false information and then payment would be issued to the individual named on the form, in this case Carden’s daughter.
The report also states that the investigation “revealed similar actions” involving Andrews. Andrews admitted to falsely submitting a W-9 in the name of his significant other.
The investigation found that Wilson knew that the people getting paychecks for officiating games at the park did not do the actual work and submitted documents to the city’s finance department for checks to be issued.
During a fact-finding interview with ERPD LT. Josh Creel, Wilson denied that any other city employees were being paid under assumed identities. He denied any “‘phantom’ invoices for services not rendered by any entity and denied any other false names used on W-9 documents,” The report states.
“Wilson repeatedly said he only wanted to do what was ‘by the book’ and took responsibility as the department head,” the report states.
Aside from the violation of city codes, the investigation concluded that potential felonies may have been committed, including Conspiracy to Commit Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Simulation, Conspiracy to Commit Forgery, Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft, Falsifying Time Records and Request for Payment of City Funds, and Conspiracy to Falsify IRS Information.
It is unlikely that criminal charges will be pursued because the amount of money the employees were paid was less than $500.