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Police Officials Repay Department for Pricey Meals

Kansas City Star via YellowBrix

February 11, 2011

KANSAS CITY – Four Kansas City police officials on Thursday reimbursed the department $3,452.22 for pricey meals they had charged for legislative-related expenses in 2009 and 2010.

Police board president Pat McInerney had asked for the refund Monday after receiving an anonymous tip and reviewing credit card purchases by Maj. Roger Lewis and Maj. Wayne Stewart, who act as legislative liaisons to Jefferson City.

The Kansas City Star also received the tip and separately reviewed the transactions, which revealed a pattern of charges at steakhouses and taverns, mostly in Jefferson City, that far exceeded the $46 per diem allowed per employee. The records didn’t include itemized receipts or list who attended most of the meals.

The records also showed three meals, each costing more than $540, with the department’s paid lobbyist at The Capital Grille on the Country Club Plaza. Police Chief Jim Corwin attended one of the meals. Deputy Chief Cy Ritter attended all three.

Corwin told The Star on Wednesday that he, Ritter, Lewis and Stewart would repay the money.

He also confirmed Wednesday that alcohol was charged at the Capital Grille meals and at some meals in Jefferson City, in violation of department policy. He took responsibility.

Police board members on Thursday moved to create a policy that would increase accountability for department credit cards, which are issued to Corwin, his five deputy chiefs and the legislative liaisons.

The proposed policy:

•Requires itemized receipts, the names of all meal participants and the purpose of the expenditure.

•Requires advance approval for expected credit card purchases.

•Requires that credit card expenses be reported to the board monthly.

•Restricts “extravagant or excessive expenditures beyond what is reasonable and customary.”

McInerney said the board was moving quickly to hire an independent auditor and counsel to fully investigate the credit card transactions, detail any policy violations and make disciplinary recommendations.

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