No criminal charges for 2 ex-leaders at LR utility

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two formers leaders at the Little Rock Wastewater Utility won’t face criminal charges after a manager was allowed to live rent-free in his mobile home on utility property, prosecutors have decided.

The utility fired Chief Executive Reggie Corbitt and Director of Operations Stan Miller after details emerged about the living situation, which was paid for by ratepayers.

Prosecutors investigated the situation after the Little Rock Police Department forwarded its case file. Chief deputy prosecutor John Johnson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1j0fhZh ) there was no proof of criminal intent in the actions of Corbitt and Miller.

Documents showed that nearly $16,000 in ratepayer funds were spent on labor and parts to prepare the site and make improvements to Miller’s mobile homes, and to purchase a fence and heating pad for Miller’s dog. The utility estimated that another $12,624 was spent providing utilities for Miller when he lived there and for his girlfriend, who often stayed and did laundry on site.

“The way it was explained in the case file, those (trailer) improvements were made for the benefit of Little Rock Wastewater. They were improvements that needed to be made because there had to be on-site supervision, whether it was Miller or anyone else, for the utility. Again, you have to look at the difference between criminal intent to defraud versus bad business practices or whether or not there is a more financially responsible way to accomplish something,” Johnson said.

Neither Miller nor Corbitt returned messages seeking comment Tuesday. But Corbitt’s attorney, Ken Shemin, says the prosecutors’ decision “is exciting news.”

Little Rock Ward 4 City Director Brad Cazort said Tuesday that even though no criminal charges were filed, it was clear that wrongdoing occurred.

“I’m not comfortable saying whether or not the prosecutor’s office made a correct decision - I have not seen everything they’ve seen - but even if it didn’t rise to the level of a crime, it far exceeded the level of acceptability and use of taxpayer funds,” Cazort said. “It could not be allowed to go on and should not have ever happened. Whether it was criminally wrong or not, it was publicly, morally and any other kind of wrong you want to say.”

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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