Two Knox County employees said their supervisors fired them for exposing a plot to use taxpayer money for political gain, according to KnoxNews.com
These two employees, David Ball and Teresa Ferguson, have filed suits saying as much, the website went on to say.
“The pair — both of whom worked in Knox County’s Office of Information Technology for decades — claim in the lawsuits that then-coworker Zack Webb (pictured left) repeatedly used his county credit card to buy computer equipment and office furniture in 2017 and 2018,” KnoxNews.com reported.
“The duo contend in the lawsuits they suspected Webb and Knox County Finance Director Chris Caldwell of giving away the items ‘for political gain.’ The lawsuits do not detail the alleged plot’s political beneficiary.”
Ball and Ferguson worked with Webb in 2017 when Ferguson reportedly received a county credit card statement with Webb’s name with tablet and laptop purchases at a cost of around $11,000.
Ball and Ferguson reportedly said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs (pictured right) “promoted Webb after he won the August 2018 election and fired Ball without cause. Webb, in turn, fired Ferguson without cause.”
“Ferguson, the lawsuits say, was the only IT employee allowed to make purchases using taxpayer money for the department. She went to Ball, her boss. He went to his then-boss, Richard Moran, the lawsuits state,” the website reported.
“Ferguson and Ball then say packages began arriving at the IT department with Webb’s name on those.”
Webb reportedly did not return the website’s messages seeking comment, while Caldwell and Jacobs’ spokesman declined to comment.
“Those packages contained computers, computer tablets and other office-type equipment that were not ordered through the IT department’s regular procedures,” according to KnoxNews.com, quoting the lawsuit.
“The duo claim Webb wasn’t listing the items as part of the county’s inventory as required. Ball decided to conduct his own investigation and learned the credit card with Webb’s name on it was issued by the finance department, over which Caldwell was director. The lawsuits say Ball, Ferguson and Moran all ‘confronted’ Webb in late 2017 and flatly accused him of a plot with Caldwell to give away computers and furniture to curry political favor. But the lawsuits do not reveal what Webb said about it.”
According to the website, Webb ordered packages to the Register of Deeds and the Office of Risk Management until August 2018.