Spencer Co. to check expenses of top official

ralessi@herald-leader.comJune 30, 2009 

Magistrates in Spencer County are reviewing the expenses of their judge-executive, David Jenkins, after the Herald-Leader reported that charges to strip clubs, a Lexington escort service and casinos appeared on his Kentucky Association of Counties credit card.

Jenkins, a Democrat who had a KACo-issued Visa card when he was the group's president in 2008, is disputing the charges at two Louisville strip clubs and the escort service Campus Cuties, which bills under the name Calypso Enterprises LLC. He told the Herald-Leader last week that someone must have stolen his credit card number and used it at those establishments.

KACo filed a dispute claim on Friday with the credit card issuer, Central Bank, to be reimbursed for $620 in charges to the two clubs and Campus Cuties. Those are the only charges out of nearly $20,000 made by Jenkins that he and KACo are challenging.

Three Spencer County magistrates said Monday that they are awaiting the results of the credit card company's investigation.

In the meantime, John Riley, a Republican magistrate, said he requested detailed reports and receipts from county credit card charges that Jenkins has made or approved.

"He's got a lot of explaining to do, it seems to me," Riley said.

Beyond the disputed expenses, other charges Jenkins admitted to are "not a flattering reflection of his judgement," Riley said.

Jenkins' expenses include $464 at Indiana's Belterra Casino and its restaurant and $473 at the Hooters Casino in Las Vegas during a National Association of Counties event. Jenkins has said none of those charges was for gambling.

Still, Riley said, such spending probably won't go over well with constituents in the county of about 17,000 located between Lawrenceburg and Louisville.

"It looks like he was living fairly large," he said.

In comparison, KACo's 2007 president, Shelby County Magistrate Tony Carriss, spent less than $1,500 on his KACo card during his term.

Jenkins was out of the office Monday and could not be reached for comment.

Bob Arnold, KACo's executive director, said he hadn't heard from Central Bank yet.

"They're going to attempt every way to get copies of the receipts, if possible," Arnold said. "We told them it was extremely important to us to make every effort to determine who made those charges."

Bill Drury, a Democratic magistrate, said he also wants to review details of Jenkins' Spencer County expenses. Even though magistrates approve all county spending, Drury said he now wants to comb through Jenkins' expenses closely.

"At this point, I see no red flags here, locally," Drury said after reviewing a first batch of documents Monday.

Democratic Magistrate J. David Henry said he won't believe that Jenkins made the strip club or escort service charges unless he sees proof.

"If they're disputing it because they're saying the card number was being used by someone else, I'd have to think that's the case," Henry said.

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