FOX19 Investigates: Extensive corruption in NKY

NORTHERN KENTUCKY (FOX19) - This year, Northern Kentucky has seen its fair share of public corruption cases involving local leaders allegedly misusing taxpayer dollars.

The state auditor's office says they're now forced to use substantial resources from other parts of the state to oversee many of the issues going on in Northern Kentucky.

February, former Walton, Kentucky mayor Phill Trzop is indicted for abuse of public trust. He's on five years probation for selling $34,000 worth of scrap metal that belonged to the Boone County Water District.

Not even a month later, Kentucky state auditor Adam Edelen's office reveals that former Dayton Independent Schools superintendent Gary Rye used about $225,000 in unauthorized benefits and payments.

About a week after that, Northern Kentucky University fires their AD Scott Eaton for allegedly stealing more than $300,000 of school money for personal use.

Finally, Covington finance director Bob Due is fired and later charged for allegedly stealing city money. That amount according to his former colleagues, more than $600,000.

A grand total of approximately $1,169,000.

"Sick to my stomach, appalled, just can't believe it," says Dayton Independent Schools board member Rosann Sharon.

"I think it's clear that these cases seem to be out of character for this region," explains Kentucky state auditor Adam Edelen.

So what's the state doing about this? FOX19 took that question to state auditor Adam Edelen at a good government summit. He stresses there needs to be more involvement from the public and more of a structured system that doesn't depend on one or two individuals at the top.

"We've got to re-double our efforts to make sure that the people of Northern Kentucky are getting a government that is as good and honest as they are," says Edelen.

Covington resident and business owner Sandi Stonebraker says the recent embezzlement discourages her, but is confident city leaders can turn it around.

"If we just continue to move towards that vision, getting through all the rough times, those make us stronger and more cohesive in many cases, we'll get there," explains Sandi Stonebraker.

The state auditor's office discussed 32 recommendations for oversight to local leaders today.

Edelen's office is already in the process of planning another similar summit for Northern Kentucky.

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