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League of Cities freezes credit card use




LEXINGTON

The Kentucky League of Cities has suspended credit card use by the group’s top officials following a newspaper investigation into its spending practices.

The group’s officials acknowledged a credit card charge at a Las

Vegas strip club last week, The Lexington

Herald-Leader reported. The newspaper also reported that the League’s top three executives accrued $300,000 in credit card expenses in three years.

On Monday, State Auditor Crit Luallen began an audit of the League in response to the stories.

Mayfield Mayor Arthur Byrn, the chair of the group’s insurance board, said executive director Sylvia Lovely recommended that credit cards no longer be used by her executive staff. The board last week voted to suspend all credit cards — including Lovely’s.

All expenses will now be paid through reimbursements, Byrn said Monday.

“I’m not saying they will no longer have the use of credit cards from here forward,” he said. “But until we have reviewed our policies and both boards have adopted those policies, we decided we would take this action.”

Executive board chairwoman Connie Lawson, the mayor of Richmond, has gathered a committee to examine the group’s policies and practices.

Shortly after the newspaper stories appeared in June, Lovely stopped using a BMW sport utility vehicle paid for by the League, suspended League-paid travel for executive spouses, and stopped League functions at a restaurant co-owned by her husband.

The $80 strip club charge in 2006 was made by William Hamilton, the group’s director of insurance services, at Diamond Cabaret. He reimbursed the League for the charge in the spring.

League officials called it a mistake.

The League of Cities is a nonprofit that provides lobbying, financial and insurance services to 382 Kentucky cities.


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