Garrett, Ky. (WYMT) - An eastern Kentucky fire department is the subject of a scathing report from the state auditor that discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable spending along with pornography on a public computer.
The Garrett Volunteer Fire Department is under fire after the state auditor found more than $123 thousand in questionable expenditures that were used on items like flatscreen televisions and chewing tobacco. More than 800 pornographic videos were also discovered on on a department computer and hard drive.
"To have misuse of taxpayer dollars and to have someone accumulating and building a pornographic library on a public resource is a violation of trust of the first order," state auditor Adam Edelen said. "And the good people of Floyd County deserve a lot better than what they got here."
Former assistant fire chief Terry Triplett was the department's treasurer when many of the violations occurred.
Triplett has been on the run. He was reported as a missing person in March and coworkers said they have not talked to him since February.
Danny O'Quinn, the fire department's board chairman, said he and the other board members were unaware of the problems before he started the job in July.
O'Quinn said he requested the audit because he wants the public to know the truth so the department can rebuild trust with taxpayers.
"It doesn't anger me as much as it hurts me," Q'Quinn said of Triplett's alleged actions. "That someone we have trusted all these number of years that would defile our department and bring shame on the department."
Triplett held his job for 10 years before fleeing, O'Quinn said.
Edelen made 72 recommendations to the board regarding how to fix the situation.
O'Quinn said the board would follow those recommendations to the letter.
"I don't think i have a thing to hide and i don't think any member of this board has anything to hide," he said.
Edelen said, "There's no question that the new leadership of the Garrett Fire Department is trying to do the right thing and clean up an enormous mess. But it speaks to the need for constant oversight from the taxpayer watchdog to make sure our people are getting a good, honest bang for their buck."
The findings of the audit have been given to Kentucky State Police.
Other questionable expenditures identified in the audit include:
$16,500 in restaurant charges
$4,600 in shopping gift cards
$839 on fireworks