As the criminal investigation continues into the alleged misuse of public funds at Bristol Virginia Utilities we are learning more and more about the utility’s credit card history.
BVU Interim President and CEO Michael Bundy previously admitted he had a few expenses he charged that without an explanation would raise questions. However, he says all of those expenses were the result of an accident that he corrected quickly.
In light of ongoing questions about BVU’s past spending we requested all of the utility’s credit card expenses from April 2012 to September 2013, but BVU’s attorney denied our public records request.
“The April 2012 through September 2013 credit card accounting documents are not currently under our control, and I therefore cannot produce them,” Walt Bressler said.
Despite that denial, we were able to independently obtain the documents and confirm with multiple sources that they are in fact legitimate. Among the charges listed, a $9.75 expense at the dry cleaners, a $16.41 charge at a liquor store and $11.22 charge at Ingles, all charged to Bundy’s credit card on the same day in October 2012.
“I did have three where I accidentally used the credit card totaling like $40 and as soon as I realized it, within a couple of days, I wrote a check to make it right,” Bundy said.
Bundy says he mistakenly pulled the wrong credit card out of his wallet when he was running some errands on that day.
“The BVU card is black and looks exactly like my personal credit card,” Bundy said. “It was all in one morning. It was all in one set of errands.”
Bundy showed us his personal and BVU credit cards. Both are black and look similar but one is a Master Card and the other is a Visa. Bundy says in the past he kept both on top of each other in his wallet and on the day in question, pulled out the wrong one and likely kept it in his hand as he traveled to all three places.
Two BVU employees in the accounting department confirmed Bundy did in fact write a check to cover the three expenses within a matter of days following the charges.
Bundy is one of 27 employees, or 16% of the BVU workforce, who continue to have credit cards, something Bundy believes is necessary to ensure customers get quick service responses when needed.
However, past charges suggest credit cards were used for far more than just emergencies. Instead, a review of those 18 months of charges revealed many employees who had credit cards often fed their appetites with rate payer money.
BVU says that is now a thing of the past. In fact, for the first time, the utility is now considering implementing a food policy to prevent employees from dining locally when unnecessary.
That kind of policy could have proved beneficial in the past. So what did we uncover, how much did BVU employees spend and where and what does BVU have to say about it? Tune in tonight at six for our Community Watchdog investigation.
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