Caves Springs Mayor Accused Of Ethics Violations

CAVE SPRINGS (KFSM) — The state Ethics Commission has opened four investigations into Cave Springs Mayor Travis Lee regarding allegations that Lee used city property for personal gain and failed to reimburse the city for personal expenses.

5NEWS obtained copies of the complaints, which were attached to letters sent Feb. 9 from Graham Sloan, director of the Ethics Commission, to Cave Springs resident Terry Rakes.

In one of the complaints, Rakes accuses Lee of operating three vending machines without a business license. She says two vending machines are stored on city property, with one in city hall being used for personal gain.

Another complaint says Lee used two city-owned Wi-Fi packs on a personal vacation, along with his city-issued cell phone for personal calls and failed to reimburse the city. The complaint also accuses Lee of using a payroll deduction for the Wi-Fi packs for a personal discount.

In the third complaint, Rakes says Lee failed to pay $319 back to the city after he received a duplicate reimbursement.

Rakes also accuses Lee of appropriating city funds to a business owned by a city employee without getting approval from the City Council.

The letters state “an investigation is being commenced” for each complaint.

Lee said he was aware of the complaints but couldn’t comment abut specifics until the investigation was finished.

“The Mayor’s Office has great confidence in the process,” Lee said. “The ethics commission will thoroughly investigate the allegations and I am confident that, once again, it will be determined that the City of Cave Springs is compliant with the rule of law.”

Sloan said he was unable to comment on any possibly pending investigations.

Rakes was unable to be reached for comment.

Kim Hutcheson, the  city’s Recorder-Treasurer, was sanctioned last summer by the Ethics Commission for receiving $500 through a GoFundMe account to assist with potential legal fees, according to commission documents.

Hutcheson was fined $50 and received a public letter of caution for violating a state law that bars public servants from accepting income or benefits outside of their office and failing to report the money on her statement of financial interest.