Lance LoRusso, attorney for former Canton Police sergeant Stacy Bailey, is saying his client did not lie about the number of signatures required on checks from the police department’s Explorers account.
“She was terminated for lying and terminated for changing the account from two signatures to one signature. That’s false. That never happened,” he said. “The account was handled as a one-signature account for six years.”
Bailey was terminated from the city Nov. 27 after an investigation into spending on a customized golf cart for the disabled son of a man with whom she allegedly had a sexual relationship. She had been placed on paid leave July 18.
Bailey purchased a golf cart costing $6,242.29 from the police department’s Explorers fund and is believed to have solicited $4,050 in donations for the golf cart.
The golf cart was given to the son of Scott Jamison, a man with whom Bailey was reportedly having a sexual relationship.
An internal investigation conducted by the Marietta Police Department for the Canton Police Department found that Bailey changed a bank form for the Explorers account in 2012, thus requiring only one signature for checks. The summary of the investigation states that she had signed a form requiring two signatures in 2006.
LoRusso contends that the account always required one signature.
“There was one signature document presented to the Marietta Police Department that says two signatures. The two is in an area that was whited out. You can see that the line underneath the numbers is missing, it’s handwritten,” he said.
According to LoRusso, Bailey changed who was authorized to sign for the account after former chief Jeff Lance left the department in January 2012, but did not change the number of signatures required on a check.
LoRusso said checks written before January 2012 only had one signature and were used successfully.
“The best evidence we have, objectively, is that they handled the checks and negotiated them with one signature. The bank would not have done that if they required two,” he said.
LoRusso said there was “not a single check written” from the account with two signatures, adding that Bailey complied with two-signature requirements for other accounts.
He also said the account was never treated as a public funds account because it did not contain any public money.
“When Stacey Bailey was confronted by the chief saying she violated the financial policy, she asked for a copy of it. She was never given a copy. The first time she saw the policy was during the internal affairs investigation,” he said.
Bailey was under the impression that the Explorers account had been set up as a nonprofit account, LoRusso said. According to LoRusso and the summary of the internal investigation, the account was not audited by the city finance department.
LoRusso said the purchase of the golf cart had been approved by several people other than Bailey.
“The expense for the golf cart and the raising of money had been approved by the board of the Explorers, by the Explorers themselves, then it was approved by Jeff Lance,” he said. “What has been portrayed as Stacey unilaterally taking funds to do whatever she wanted to is just untrue.”
In a termination letter to Bailey, Canton Police Chief Robert Merchant said the golf cart was purchased under false pretenses since Bailey did not disclose her alleged sexual relationship with Jamison.
LoRusso said a lawsuit Bailey filed against the city seeking overtime pay is in the discovery phase. He contends that her position with the city was salaried but still non-exempt.
“(Salary) has nothing to do with whether or not someone is exempt from overtime,” he said. “Other (Canton Police Department) sergeants are not exempt from overtime. She routinely performed the same functions as other sergeants. Her schedule was subject to change from the chief on a moment’s notice, and was quite often. She wrote tickets, she went on prowler calls, she made arrests. She did all of these things for well over 86 hours in a pay period.”
Bailey had worked for the Canton Police Department since 2003.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an investigation into the purchase of the golf cart. The agency concluded its investigation in October and found no grounds for criminal prosecution against Bailey.
The report from the internal investigation says Bailey violated Canton Police Department policies regarding the code of ethics, professional image, on- and off-duty conduct, violation of rules, unbecoming conduct and truthfulness.