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Tucson fires 5 on corruption claims

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Tucson fires 5 on corruption claims

CREATED Sep 7, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Angry about potholes? Well this might send you over the edge.
Corruption claims have left five city of Tucson employees and criminal charges could follow.

When you hit your next pothole---and you know that won't take long---consider this. The City of Tucson says some of its street department workers used more than a hundred thousand dollars in materials, manpower and equipment to do side jobs and favors for friends; and it went on for at least eight years.

KGUN9's question for City Attorney Mike Rankin: why so many---why so long before it was stopped?

Rankin says, "I don't think I have a good answer for that.  Part of the problem is that you rely on supervisors in the organization to make sure these type of things aren't happening in this instance, as you know, the supervisors were involved."
The city says the work included a parking lot behind a pizza place, paving at an electrical business, and what the city describes as more than $17,000 in paving at Evergreen Cemetery.
Evergreen did allow the city to keep equipment, dirt and gravel on an out of the way part of the cemetery along with dirt like this the cemetery owns. Cemetery President Bill Addison says he never charged the city, and thought he was helping the city save money and time by keeping equipment and materials closer to the jobs.
But the heavy city trucks tore up the light duty roads. 

Addison says he thought it was natural and legitimate when a city supervisor offered to fix the damage.

"Nobody has ever asked for anything.  Nobody has ever intimated that we should pay anybody any city employee for anything they did here.  The only thing they would say is thank you very much for allowing us to store our equipment here.  Thank you for allowing us to store our materials here."

As for the chance of criminal charges: they won't come from the city, but the city has turned the cases over to another agency that could prosecute--it just won't say which agency.