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Audit: Guns, clothes, cameras among purchases by former Rockwood official

12:31 PM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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New details have been released about the investigation into a former Rockwood city official accused of making more than $30,000 dollars in personal purchases on a city credit card.

Former Rockwood Public Works Director Thomas William Pierce is charged with two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, theft of more than $10 thousand dollars, and four counts of official misconduct.

A Tennessee State Comptroller report released on Wednesday details the purchases that Pierce is accused of making on that city credit card.

The audit found that Pierce spent nearly $12,000 dollars on the purchase of 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 buy 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.

The report also the purchase of 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.

The investigation found Pierce also 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."

Previous story
 
A former Rockwood Public Works Director is accused of using city credit cards to buy more than $10 thousand dollars worth of guns and other personal items.

A grand jury indicted 48-year-old Thomas William Pierce on two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, theft of more than $10 thousand dollars, and four counts of official misconduct.

Investigators started looking into Pierce's actions last January, when an annual audit turned up missing receipts.

Investigators say Pierce used the credit cards to buy guns and other items.

When investigators asked him about the purchases, he told them he bought the guns for the city dog catcher.

City leaders suspended Pierce in February 2012, and he resigned from his position two months later.

Pierce served as Public Works Director for 15 years.

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