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HODGENVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)- The colleagues of a mayor and city clerk charged with unlawfully spending tax payer dollars are now calling for an audit of city finances.
In a special meeting Monday, the Hodgenville city council voted to have state leaders step in, while also approving outside legal representation.
Members also approved a motion to change protocol when it comes to access to credit card statements and other financial documents. Council members will now receive copies of those documents before every monthly council meeting.
Monday's special meeting was a result of felony charges against Mayor Terry Cruse and City Clerk Madonna Hornback. Hornback faces 55 felonies stemming from alleged misuse of city funds. Cruse is charged with 14 felonies.
"We felt there were issues that needed to be addressed that we as business people don't have the time to address," said city council member Alex Larue.
Although the mayor said the council is free to request an audit by the state, he advised them it may be expensive.
"I've been audited, I have no problem with it, it's just how much money it's going to cost the city," Cruse said.
The city is audited every year, but by a private auditor.
"The auditor who audits us annually looks at the numbers given to her," said Jim Phelps. "She doesn't come in and look at the detailed receipts and transactions, so that's what we would like."
When we pressed the mayor about this, he only addressed the possible cost.
With the city attorney representing Cruse and Hornback, council members say protection is the main reason for hiring their own lawyer.
Ahead of the city council meeting, court documents were unsealed, making public an affidavit for a search warrant.
When we tried to talk to the mayor after the meeting about the affidavit, he handed us a prepared statement. In it he said: "Any use of the gas cards was under appropriate and justified circumstances, related to city business and city business related manners."
He continued on to say that the claims of his misuse of city funds are politically motivated. "We feel that these charges and the investigation of my office are politically motivated...as I intend to file for sheriff tomorrow."