LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the first time since revealing that the city of Lexington had been duped out of four million dollars, Mayor Linda Gorton spoke publicly about the matter.
“It is disconcerting,” she said. “I’ve been told by police and investigators that this isn’t uncommon."
She then discussed the need for the city’s internal auditors to take a look at that operation to see if it needs to be tightened up.
Mayor Gorton was speaking from a construction site on Versailles Road where an affordable housing complex is being built to accommodate low-income senior citizens.
The $4 million in question came from the city’s eviction and rental assistance fund, which was implemented during the pandemic with, in part, federal dollars the city received during the nation’s battle against COVID-19 and its aftermath. That fund can and will remain solvent, even as the money has vanished.
“We have places in the budget where we’re moving money around to fully fund that,” the mayor said, assuring those who require that assistance.
Now the FBI and Secret Service are involved in an investigation they hope will lead them to the person, or people, responsible.
According to a statement released by the mayor’s office on Monday, a city employee was apparently fooled by someone posing as an employee of the Community Action Council. That person said the banking information being used by the CAC was different from its previous information. That wasn’t true, but the $4 million was ultimately wired. The account has since been frozen.
“We don’t know yet whether our whole four million is there,” the mayor said, after being asked about the account.
The mayor noted that it is very early in the investigation and that the FBI and Secret Service are thorough so it could take a while, but she said she is pleased they are working with Lexington police since the former two agencies don’t always take on every case with which they are presented.
She also said it’s too early to make assumptions about whether or not this was some kind of inside job orchestrated by those in the know.
“I’m the kind of person who likes to get the facts before making any judgments,” she stated, before adding that no scenario has been ruled out as of now.