UNITED STATES NEWS

2 employees of town near planned Ford truck plant indicted

Mar 22, 2023, 1:00 PM | Updated: 2:38 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Two employees of a rural Tennessee town that resisted a takeover attempt by the state after Ford Motor Co. announced plans to build an electric truck plant nearby have been charged with the theft of town funds and official misconduct, officials said Wednesday.

Reva Marshall, the former finance officer for the town of Mason, and Michele Scott, Mason’s human resources manager, have been indicted by grand juries in two counties, the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office said in a news release and an investigative report.

Both Marshall and Scott were charged with receiving tens of thousands of dollars in improper wages, benefits and reimbursements from Mason by submitting timesheets for many more hours than they actually worked, officials said. They also worked full-time for the Memphis-Shelby County Schools system while also employed by Mason, receiving compensation from both entities for the same hours of work, officials said.

In a report released Wednesday, investigators also questioned tens of thousands of dollars in credit card transactions and reimbursements by town employees.

Marshall and Scott were indicted in west Tennessee’s Tipton County, where Mason is located, and in Shelby County, which includes Memphis. Online court records did not show if they had lawyers to speak on their behalf about the charges.

Mason’s mayor did not immediately respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.

The allegations are the latest in a string of financial problems that have beset Mason, located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Memphis. The state comptroller’s office said the town has experienced 20 years of financial mismanagement.

The 2020 Census shows Mason’s population at about 1,330. But that fell to less than 800 after a private prison closed.

The town’s current leadership is mostly Black, but white leaders were in charge for many of the years that the state said Mason’s affairs were mismanaged. The town has seen investigations into misconduct and accounting irregularities, including one by the comptroller’s office cited in a report in 2016, when its leaders were mostly white. Several officials resigned.

Last year, Tennessee Comptroller Jason Mumpower asked Mason’s town leaders to surrender their charter, pointing to the financial mismanagement. After Mason voters refused to do so, Mumpower later said the state would take over its financial supervision.

The news of the takeover attempt sparked national attention as many questioned its timing because Mason is near the site of a future $5.6 billion Ford electric pickup truck factory. The plant is expected to employ about 5,600 workers at the plant, and construction will create thousands more jobs.

Town leaders filed a lawsuit — with the help of the NAACP — hoping to stop a full takeover of its finances. Mason and the state later struck a deal for a scaled-back supervision of the town’s finances.

“The Comptroller’s Office continues to have enhanced supervision over the Town of Mason’s fiscal condition,” the news release said. “This includes ensuring the town maintains a balanced budget; requiring the town to provide monthly financial records and reports to the Comptroller’s Office; and requiring implementation of policies to address audit findings.”

Construction has begun for the planned Ford factory in neighboring Haywood County. Officials say the plant, called BlueOval City, will boost west Tennessee’s economy. The factory is expected to bring both small and large businesses to the area, including hotels, restaurants, health care facilities and suppliers for the plant, among others. Real estate values also could increase.

Ford has said it has not been directly involved with Mason’s financial situation, but it has reached out to state and local community leaders about it.

United States News

...

KTAR Video

Video: Why Joe Biden is trailing in Arizona voter polls

Donald Trump is garnering more support in Arizona than Joe Biden ahead of the 2024 presidential election, according to a poll released Wednesday. Mike Noble, CEO of Noble Predictive Insights (NPI), joined Mike Broomhead to discuss their poll that shows Trump at 44% and Biden at 41%, with 15% of likely voters undecided. Video: Jeremy […]

44 minutes ago

Associated Press

Tennessee to become first state to offer free diapers for Medicaid families

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee will soon become the first state in the country to offer free diapers to families enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program after receiving federal approval, state officials have confirmed. According to TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, families will be able to receive up to 100 diapers per month for children under […]

2 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Should Joe Biden and Donald Trump be worried about a third-party candidate in Arizona?

A new election poll in Arizona shows Donald Trump leading in Arizona, but should Joe Biden and the former president be worried about a third party candidate? Jim Sharpe explains more in Wednesday’s Sharper Point commentary. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News Photos: Spencer Platt, Brandon Bell/Getty Images

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities still conducting search, rescue after tornado slams Iowa; at least 1 dead

GREENFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Authorities in Iowa were continuing search and rescue efforts Wednesday, a day after a deadly tornado slammed the state, devastating the town of Greenfield and killing an undisclosed number of people there. About 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Greenfield, a woman died Tuesday when the vehicle she was driving was […]

13 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Rangers recover the body of a Japanese climber who died on North America’s tallest peak

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Rangers have recovered the body of a Japanese man who died after an apparent fall while climbing North America’s tallest peak, authorities said Tuesday. Denali National Park and Preserve identified the climber as T. Hagiwara, from Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. He was identified by his first initial in keeping with his family’s […]

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

2 employees of town near planned Ford truck plant indicted