Canton Municipal Utilities credit card charges under the microsc - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Canton Municipal Utilities credit card charges under the microscope

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
CANTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

We have confirmed with the Rankin County District Attorney's office thousands of dollars in questionable credit card spending by employees with Canton Municipal Utilities have been turned over to the State Auditor's Office. 

Canton Municipal Utilities is a city-owned utility services provider for more than 10 thousand customers. We have learned the city agency is under scrutiny for credit card charges.  

Many of the charges were signed off on by the CMU general manager, Kenny Wayne Jones.  

We have the public records documents.The following include charges to CMU on company credit cards over a period of months.

  • Two hundred fifty dollars for a gym membership. 
  • Hundreds charged to Sam's Club, one purchase totaled $799.00. 
  • A Walmart charge totaled $402.96. 
  • A  $194.00  purchase at a men's clothing store initialed by the executive director.
  • June 25 someone charged over $1,000 at Perdido Beach resort in Orange Beach, Alabama. 

 The public utility credit card holders apparently lived high on the hog. 

March 21, a $1270 dollar charge to Marlo's BBQ. We also found $1,610 was spent at the same Canton restaurant. 

Credit card Documents reveal over a period of months, $4- thousand dollars spent for food at this same business.

One credit card statement listed numerous Piggly Wiggly, and Penn's Seafood charges for food. We found multiple Family Dollar, Walmart, Sams, and Dollar General purchases totaling hundreds of dollars.

Another significant purchase, $2,400 charges at a Jackson jewelry store. The CMU manager explained anniversary rings were purchased for 4 workers with 35 years on the job. 

"Our employees work through very challenging environments, such as inclement weather and extreme heat conditions, and those hours worked over an 8-hour period require CMU to provide food for the crew," said Jones in a statement about the food. "Those are some of the food charges you will see. We feel it is also important to give back and use local restaurants, not lavish Steakhouses."

"I additionally know that happy employees create an environment for exceptional service to our customers. We treat our employees like family in hopes that their kindness is passed on through their service to others," added Jones.

We contacted Madison/Rankin County District Attorney Michael Guest. He told WLBT he received the paper trail of credit card expenditures.  Guest confirmed his office met with the State Auditor and turned the information over to the agency. 

When asked if this was under investigation, Guest told us, the allegations of misappropriation are now being looked into. 
The State Auditors office would not confirm nor deny an investigation.

However, Utility manager, Kenny Jones said during a phone conversation Wednesday morning, no improprieties were found. Here is the full statement from the CMU's General manager:  

CMU takes great pride in upholding the highest of standards in three key areas: Service to our Customers, Appreciation of our Employees, and the Highest Level of Integrity to our Company.
CMU General Manager Kenneth Wayne Jones believes, “That is why CMU continuously works to keep our systems upgraded to provide state-of-the-art technology and consistently superior utilities to our customers. It is important to stay abreast of available resources and keep our services operating at full capacity, no matter what. Most recently we upgraded to a new technology system to ensure our service area is protected under any condition with minimal interruption. I additionally know that happy employees create an environment for exceptional service to our customers. We treat our employees like family in hopes that their kindness is passed on through their service to others.”
A recent Public Records Request proves that CMU holds true to their values. “Four of our employees recently celebrated 35 years of service with CMU and we felt it imperative to honor that service. Each employee was presented with an anniversary ring to always remember their accomplishment and that we thank them for it. Therefore, you see a purchase from a jewelry store”, stated Mr. Jones. “Our employees work through very challenging environments, such as inclement weather and extreme heat conditions, and those hours worked over an 8-hour period require us to provide food for that crew. Those are some of the food charges you will see. We feel it is also important to give back and use local restaurants, not lavish steakhouses.”
Since Mr. Jones has taken the role of General Manager, employee morale is at an all-time high. Employees are participating in philanthropic local events, cleanup of local areas, and community events on their personal time. CMU employees most recently sent a large shipment of supplies to hurricane victims and continue to give back to the community.
“I am proud of the way we run our company and that our spending is minimal compared to our income. We have an exceptional team of people who follow strict standards to ensure each dollar spent is accounted for and beneficial to the growth and prosperity of our company. We welcome the opportunity to discuss any concerns or inquiries regarding our successes.”

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