COVINGTON, Ky. -- The Covington finance director was suspended indefinitely Friday while investigators look into the possible misappropriation of more than $300,000 in city funds.
City officials announced the suspension of Robert Due, 63, during a press conference at Covington City Hall.
Due, who has served as the city's finance director since 1999, allegedly took the funds during a three-year period beginning in 2010, said Covington City Manager Larry Klein.
Klein said Covington officials were advised by city staff on Thursday that there were alleged "significant improprieties related to the use of city funds" after they discovered irregularities in the processing of checks and funds.
During the press conference, the city manager made a statement regarding the specifics of the allegations.
“We believe that there is a probability the public trust has been broken,” Klein said. “Since late (Thursday) when we were first advised of this problem, we have taken clear and immediate steps to secure the city's financial resources and to restore that trust."
One of the measures the city has taken to "restore that trust" is to suspend Due's access to city bank accounts, funds, records and computers, Klein said.
At this time, city officials do not believe other city employees were involved. They also plan to take "whatever steps may be necessary to secure and recoup any misappropriated funds."
While city officials said during Friday's press conference that the allegations appear to be "substantiated," City Solicitor Frank Warnock reminded the public and city officials that the investigation is still ongoing.
“We are very concerned as serious allegations have been leveled against a co-worker that we trusted, but we have to remember that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty," Warnock said. "We have to let the investigation run its course."
Warnock and Klein met with officials from the Covington Police Department, the Kenton County Sheriff's Office and Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders to ensure transparency throughout the investigation.
Klein also sat down with city staff to emphasize that city business is set to proceed without interruption. He has appointed the finance department's accounting and operations manager, Jerome Heist, as interim finance director.
The move is pending formal approval by the city board of commissioners.
Covington's annual audit for 2012-13 is scheduled to begin in the near future.
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