St. Louis Co. official resigns over expenses

CLAYTON (AP) — A former St. Louis County official says he resigned under pressure for expenses billed to the county for a business trip he extended to attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Gene Gorden was director of the county’s Workforce Development Career Centers until he resigned Feb. 12, one day after sending a letter to County Executive Charlie A. Dooley apologizing “for any confusion” over charges on a county credit card.

Gorden, 58, went to Washington to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting Jan. 15-19 and stayed three extra nights for the Jan. 21 inauguration, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday. The newspaper filed a Sunshine Law request to obtain the letter, emails and expense reports.

The only comment from the county came from Mike Jones, Dooley’s chief policy adviser, who said, “All I can tell you is that Gene Gorden resigned for personal reasons and the county executive wishes him well.”

Gorden said in the letter he was resigning for personal reasons. But in an interview with the Post-Dispatch, he said he resigned “because someone got upset” over his expenses.

Expense reports show that the county was charged $2,820 for the seven nights that Gorden stayed at the Beacon Hotel in Washington. The original airline ticket charge was $497 and the county was billed an extra $438 when Gorden changed his departure date from Jan. 19 to Jan. 22.

Documents show that Gorden had hotel charges of $1,404 reversed to his personal credit card on Feb. 6, which covered the three extra nights he stayed at the Beacon Hotel. On Feb. 7, Gorden gave the county a money order for $564 to cover the flight change fee, as well as for extra cab and travel agent expenses during his extended stay.

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