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St. Louis Co. official resigns over expenses

St. Louis Co. official resigns over expenses

April 5th, 2013 in News

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.