Due's Alleged Theft May Be Larger, Stretch Back Further than Originally Known
UPDATE (4:59 p.m.): Due has bonded out of jail at 4:56 p.m. He will be on electronic monitoring at his home in Independence and will need permission from the court if he hopes to leave.
Covington Finance Director Bob Due appeared by video in Kenton County District Court before Judge Douglas Grothaus on Monday morning where a judge lowered the 63-year old's bond from $50,000 cash to $10,000. If released, Due would have to relinquish his passport.
Due pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance is September 3.
The River City News has learned that Due's alleged theft may be greater than the roughly $300,000 originally reported by authorities following his arrest on Friday and that the alleged crime may have begun earlier than the originally reported 2007.
Prior to his arrest on charges of theft by unlawful taking (more than $10,000), unlawful access to a computer, official misconduct, and criminal possession of a forged instrument, Due was questioned about amounts that exceed the approximate $300,000 and about potentially misappropriated funds noted prior to 2007.
No additional charges have been leveled against Due, who has served in his position since 1999.
(SEE PREVIOUSLY: Covington Finance Director Arrested, Suspended)
Former City Commissioner Steve Casper, who served in 2011 and 2012, commented at The River City News Facebook page, "From the beginning of our term (Commissioner Steve Frank and I) called for the finance department to become computer-based, but fell on deaf ears then. The real shame is the Due fiasco once again overshadows the good things happening. The faster this is put to to bed, the better."
Frank also commented at RCN's Facebook page. "Nobody could get answers to their questions because of our backward technology," Frank said. "Bob probably liked it that way as it gave him power and maybe the ability to do something else free from other eyes. I fought to correct this from the word go."
The finance department was reorganized this year and new software was purchased and begun to be installed as City Hall aimed to increased technology and efficiency late last year. Prior to that change, Frank said that potential trouble could be spotted. "Our technology was beyond ancient to the point that it became apparent that only the finance director could query it and that we would because we were in this situation, restructure the finance department last as the doctor couldn't operate on himself at the same time he was operating on the patient," Frank said. "During these reorganizations we did, however, vote in the prior commission to improve our computer system because the old one was not capable of running modern software that would allow department heads or commissioners to have access to real time data."
"The last piece of the puzzle was to have an independent internal auditor to scrutinize each department's spending to look for fraud or waste. We voted to create this position with the adoption of this year's budget beginning July 1. My only editorial comment is that those who wish to use this as a way to return to the ways that were leading us to bankruptcy will once again be disappointed."
City Commissioner Chuck Eilerman also weighed in on his Facebook page.
"(Due's arrest) has prompted an array of outbursts, of ad hominem attacks, ex post facto wisdom, and general bloviating," Eilerman wrote. "Let's hope the better angels of our nature come to the fore, and we deal with this in a thoughtful, respectful, and constructive manner. We have a wonderful city and a committed and hard-working staff. We can come out the better for this unfortunate experience."
A request for more in-depth comments from the mayor, city manager, and city solicitor has been submitted.
This story will be updated.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
Photo: Bob Due/Kenton Co. Detention Center