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Charges against ex-worker from Isaac's term dropped

Theft charges were dismissed last week against an administrative assistant in former Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac's administration because the woman says she was just doing her job.

Debbie Jones and her former boss, Becky Estep, a senior aide in the administration, were indicted by a Fayette County grand jury in March on charges of theft by unlawful taking over $300, a Class D felony.

Estep pleaded guilty last month to an amended charge, first-degree official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor. She was given unsupervised probation for two years; if she commits any other crimes, she could face 180 days in jail. She was also ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution.

Jones resigned in April 2007 from her post in the mayor's office amid the inquiry into spending in the city's office of special events.

As an administrative assistant, Jones helped to plan special events and festivals that the city sponsored, such as the Fourth of July Festival and Kentucky Christmas Chorus.

Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said Monday prosecutors couldn't prove Jones wasn't just doing as instructed, and they decided to dismiss the charges.

However, Jones has paid $911 in restitution as ordered.

Court documents filed in March say Estep used money belonging to the Lexington Festival Committee to buy clothes, popcorn and lunches worth more than $300. Jones was accused of using money from the same source to pay for a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., and gift cards and lunches totaling more than $300.

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