Dear Mr Davidian:
I have read several of your publications and find them very informative. It is refreshing to see the truth in print. I have an interesting story to tell. It seems that the Herald-Citizen newspaper just skims over a story about a public official when they are personally connected with them.
For fear of retaliation I shall not reveal my name.
Now, for the story. Several years ago a dispatcher with the Cookeville Police Department began putting together a book about the history of Putnam County. She went to some of her friends and solicited money to publish this book, selling share as it were.
She guaranteed a double return on the money invested. Now a few of her friends invested in this venture and true to her word she doubled the money for them. It was found out later that a bank was really doing the book and she was helping to organize it. As time passed she decided that she could do another book and sell more shares to her friends. After being lured into a false sense of security by the return of the first investment, more people invested with her. In an effort to make a long story as short as possible I will skip to the date the money was due the investors. She gave bad checks to several investors. Some she paid cash. She post dated some checks and lied to investors about when they could cash them. She took $22,000.00 from one lady who mortgaged her house to get the money for her. (they used to work together). She took money from an elderly woman in Nashville who lay sick in her bed. She wrote a "hot" check to the local Wal-mart store, where she worked part time. They were about to prosecute her for writing a worthless check.
She called up the local Red Foods store and asked the manager to cash a personal check for her. He told her that they didn't do that for anyone. She told him that she was a police officer and really needed to cash a check. He told her that since she was a police officer that he would cash it for her. The check was worthless. He charged her with theft. The check was for over $500.00. After she was charged she came up with the money to pay for the check. Since this was a felony, the theft charges were not dropped. The list goes on and on. She was finally prosecuted for the crimes of securities fraud and theft. She hired her a lawyer and bound the cases over to the grand jury. She was indicted on several counts of securities fraud and the theft charge. Some of the investors filed a lawsuit against her to try to recover some of the money she took from them. She filed bankruptcy thereby shafting them again (with the help of the government). In the criminal case she applied for pre-trial diversion. She was denied pre-trial diversion for her crimes and at this time her case is in appeals court.
Here is a woman that is in a position of trust that has been indicted by the grand jury and has in effect said there is enough evidence in these cases to convict her by applying for pre-trial diversion. And now to add insult to injury as they say, this woman is still working at the Cookeville Police Department where some of the very people she committed fraud upon have to work with her.
[Furthermore] she has access to very sensitive information.
While she was filing for bankruptcy and being prosecuted for these crimes, City Manager John Gentry and Jim Shipley allowed her to sell her books out of the city hall office of Cathy McClain, who was Mr. Shipley's secretary. Most people that I have spoken to about this matter or who know of it one way or another are still wondering why is she still working at the police department???
If you choose to print this information,(which I hope you will, for there are still some who don't know about this), you may edit the story to make it brief but please let the people know what kind of person they have to trust when they call for assistance from the police department.
[Editor's Note: The Putnam Pit asked Police Chief William Benson to respond to this letter. Here is the response, as received through the assistant of City Manager James Shipley:
From: Gail Fowler Sent: Friday, February 14, 1997 10:55 AM To: 'firstname.lastname@example.org' Subject: Response to "Letter to the Editor"
Chief William Benson requested that I send you the following in response to your "Letters to the Editor - Officer wonders why dispatcher still has a job at the Police Department"
This situation existed long before I became Chief of Police and nothing has changed that would legally permit me to make any decision or recommendation at this time.