Frankfort: Former parks superintendent sold animals, kept cash

Frankfort city leaders have released details about what led them to fire former Parks Superintendent Joel Tatum.

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 11:54 PM
Updated: Feb 15, 2018 7:02 PM

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WLFI) - Frankfort city leaders have released details about what led them to fire former Parks Superintendent Joel Tatum. They said Tatum was keeping hundreds of dollars which he got in part by auctioning animals without authorization or documentation.

As we've previously reported, Tatum was let go in October after an employee reported possible money mishandling to the city.

Frankfort leaders said when they searched Tatum's office, they found more than $1,400 of cash stashed in coffee cans and desk drawers. With help from the State Board of Accounts, they learned some of that was from donations to the city petting zoo. About $400 belonged to a local service club.

They also say he sold animals belonging to the city, in a claim separate from the State Board of Accounts report. However, the State Board of Accounts confirmed he bought animals for the zoo using cash from the donation boxes, and that those revenues and expenses were never documented.

City leaders said when they confiscated the money, Tatum called it his personal cash and "demanded its return."

The State Board of Accounts report says Tatum was "sporadic" in handing over revenues to the city. The report also called out the city for not monitoring certain cash collection points closely enough - namely the zoo, park vending machines, and Christmas in the Park.

A few weeks after the firing, Tatum was replaced by current parks superintendent Travis Sheets.

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