Mount Vernon mayor charged with bribery

The mayor of Mount Vernon accepted bribes and engaged in insurance fraud, a grand jury charged Friday.

Mayor Clarice Kirby was charged with bribery of a public servant, committing fraudulent insurance acts, official misconduct and two counts of abuse of public trust.

Henry Eddie Stewart and John N. Parson were charged with insurance fraud with the mayor. Both were city employees when the alleged fraud occurred earlier this year, though Parson no longer works for the city, said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jeremy Bartley.

Kirby, 57, was not at City Hall Friday. State police looked for her throughout the day but hadn't been able to find her to arrest her.

The charges grew from an allegation that Kirby provided alcohol to a jail inmate who was on work release and accepted money from the woman.

Rockcastle County Jailer James Miller said that in June, an inmate assigned to a work detail for the city returned to the jail drunk.

The female inmate said Kirby had taken her to a Richmond liquor store and bought alcohol for her.

Kirby dropped off the inmate at the jail that day, rather than having her returned with other work-release inmates, Miller said.

Miller said the inmate did not say why Kirby bought her alcohol. The inmate also made accusations of other illegal activity involving the mayor, Miller said, and he notified police.

Kirby accepted money from the woman, said Lt. Todd Dalton, a supervisor with the state police Drug Enforcement Special Investigations unit for the eastern end of the state.

Kirby denied taking the inmate, Linda Webb of Madison County, to a liquor store, the Mount Vernon Signal reported at the time.

The investigation started with that allegation but grew to include other matters, Dalton said.

The charges that Kirby abused public trust allege that she illegally used city money or property as her own, valued at more than $10,000 in one case and under $10,000 in another.

The charges relate to an incident in which city employees allegedly used city equipment to clean up a burned house in Garrard County and were paid by the city for that time, Dalton said.

Once Kirby is arrested, her bond will be $35,000 cash or twice that amount in property, the indictment said.

One condition of her bond will be that she not have sole authority to spend city money.

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