Thursday, July 26, 2007

Margie Loyd rats on Ragsdale

When it rains it pours in the County Mayor's Office in Knox County, Tennessee. For months here at The World, we've been covering the ethically questionable and possibly criminal behaviors of certain people who are either currently connected with Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, or who have formerly worked for him. The trail of corruption goes right back to Ragsdale himself, as we have asserted.

Now, Mike Ragsdale's former Executive Assistant-a woman who was among the most trusted members of Ragsdale's inner circle-is firing back after she feels the blame was heaped on her for her use of a county purchasing card for lavish expenses. Margie Loyd says Ragsdale himself authorized much of the spending.

From a letter via Loyd's attorney, Greg Issacs:

"Ms. Loyd's employment duties required that she build and maintain relationships with community leaders, attend board meetings and other related matters. Many of the charges were de minimis and many were directly authorized and/or approved by you (Mayor Ragsdale). Specifically, when you instructed Ms. Loyd to schedule a luncheon with Commissioner Diane Jordan, Ms. Loyd was instructed that Commissioner Jordan was to be 'well taken care of' because of political considerations that were ongoing."

About the issue of the cruise charged to the county card, as well as Loyd's purchasing habits:

"This issue has been greatly distorted by the media. As confirmed by the chronology submitted to your office, Ms. Lloyd used the P-card to 'hold' a reservation. It was never Ms. Loyd's intention for Knox County to be responsible for this expense. Further, when the charge appeared on Ms. Loyd's card statement, she immediately notified the county finance department and reimbursed Knox County.

Ms. Loyd reiterates that she used the P-card within the policies and procedures that existed within the Knox County Mayor's Office. Further, her use of the P-card was consistent with other similarly situated Knox County employees. As you (Mayor Ragsdale) are aware, you have personally reimbursed expenses that were placed on your Knox County P-card."

According to Ms. Loyd, she was acting in accordance with what she viewed as the accepted practices and norms of Ragsdale and his staff. Mike Ragsdale's reaction is to send his lackey Dwight Van de Vate to release a statement to try and diminish Ms. Loyd's credibility.

Considering that we are dealing with a man who has sent his minions to hack into Republican Party e-mails to try and find cause or dirt on his political opponents, it is Ragsdale whose credibility is a matter of question. The more we learn about the purchasing card scandal, the more we see that the responsibility lies at the top, and corruption is not the sole perview of certain County Commissioners in Knox County.



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