Audit: Tennessee Government Employee Pampers Herself with $150,000 of Taxpayer Money


A Tennessee government employee who spent almost $150,000 of taxpayer money on luxuries for herself will face sentencing next month, said her former boss.

According to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers released this week, a former Oliver Springs Housing Authority employee spent, among other things, more than $16,000 on herself at and nearly $3,500 on her personal property taxes.

“This employee admitted to investigators that she used her OSHA credit card and the executive director’s OSHA credit card to make the purchases,” auditors wrote.

Auditors said they reviewed OSHA accounting records, bank statements, credit card statements, and supporting documentation to make their findings.

Comptrollers did not identify the woman.

Oliver Springs Housing Authority Executive Director Karen Leffew told The Tennessee Star Friday the former employee is Melissa Eula May.

May, the audit went on to say, gave more than $26,000 of that money to her boyfriend. She also paid nearly $8,000 for two jet skis and nearly $10,000 for a 2001 Tahoe Boat and a trailer.

Other expense included the following:

• More than $42,000 on Carnival Cruise and plane tickets, jewelry, and sporting goods.

• Nearly $4,500 in vehicle repairs.

• Exactly $15,000 for a 2015 Sportsman Travel Trailer.

• Nearly $16,000 on vehicles for her personal use.

Comptrollers said they investigated with members of the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the Oliver Springs Police Department, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Officials immediately fired May, according to the audit.

Leffew said May admitted guilt to everything. Leffew also said authorities are scheduled to sentence May on July 24.

“She made all of these purchases within a month and a half to two months,” Leffew said.

“We caught it when the bank statements came in, and then the bank allowed her to transfer money around. Then she was not allowed to.”

Ninth District Attorney General Russell Johnson was unavailable Friday, and no one else from his office returned The Star’s request for comment.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected] 


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5 Thoughts to “Audit: Tennessee Government Employee Pampers Herself with $150,000 of Taxpayer Money”

  1. Vinny Gambini

    Answer to call comments- because the fine line between “criminal justice” is transparent at best.

  2. Why are they withholding her name? Cause government people–cops, bureaucrats, politicians–are in the club and you and I aren’t.

  3. Rosine Ghawji

    I am sorry but the boss is as guilty This situation should have been stopped long ago


    Is she still at large, or has she been arrested for her crime as the rest of us would be?????

  5. Karen Bracken

    So why are they withholding her name? Any other criminal would have their name posted. Could she be related to someone and thry don’t want the public to know??