Thursday, October 20, 2016

Emails Surface Concerning Patrick Lawton's Knowledge of His "Mistaken" Car Allowance

Exactly how unaware was Patrick Lawton that he was receiving a car allowance while he was driving a city-issued car? 

In A Car Plus Car Allowance=A Mistake and a Payback I wrote the following commentary about an article in the Commercial Appeal, which stated in reference to Mr. Lawton having both a city-issued car and a car allowance simultaneously--"Lawton says the $250 bi-weekly car allowance was not listed separately from the salary on his pay stub and that he didn't notice it."  

According to the Commercial Appeal, while Patrick Lawton had a city issued car, he also had a $6600 dollar a year car allowance. It was discovered by Ralph Gabb in October of 2014. This had gone on for six whole years. Lawton says he wasn't aware of it because it wasn't broken out separately on his check stub and he didn't notice it.  I do know that an error like this that goes on for six years is indicative of an accounting system with very poor financial controls. My financial experience would lead me to believe that there may be other shoes to drop. This, of course, is contrary to the notion that some people have that this is a "well run" city. I am open minded and I cannot come to a specific conclusion about the two people without knowing more facts. Let us hope that our leadership insists on getting this investigated!   Coincidentally, the Open Records Act requests were beginning to come in at the time. The payments were stopped, and then Lawton returned the overpayment to the city to the tune of almost $40,000 in January of 2015.   At this point I can say that I am surprised at Mr. Lawton's professed unawareness of the details of his own compensation.   
And just how unaware was Mr. Lawton of his double dipping? As it turns out, an email string has surfaced through the open records requests. At the very time that he was first receiving the use of a car issued by the city, he engaged in the following email exchange.  From Patrick Lawton to Kristen Geiger April 01, 2008 I have been in conversation with the Mayor about my compensation and benefits. I will begin to use a city vehicle again. I know we just purchased admin Cars for Police and I want to transfer one of the new Impalas when they come in for my use. I ran this by the Chief and he said they can manage with the use of a drug car. I wanted you to know this because it will impact admins Budget so far as vehicle allocations.  Also I have started to change the budget letter and will try to get to you by next week. From Kristen Geiger to Patrick Lawton April 2, 2008 No problem, Are you sure we don't need to include another car for FY09?  Also, do I remove the auto allowance? From Patrick Lawton to Kristen Geiger April 2, 2008 Not in Admin-but check with Chief Hall--Don't take the allowance out.   Read this exchange and judge for yourself whether Mr. Lawton was, as he told the Commercial appeal, unaware that he was receiving a car allowance while he simultaneously was driving a city issued vehicle.  Links to Past Shining a Light on Germantown Posts


  1. Isn't this considered embezzlement? Even though he paid it back, but did he keep any accrued interest or capital gains? This would indicate to me that he profited greatly from the tax payers money. Much less the trust of a city leader to be only incompetent when he is profiting. Playing dumb in a position and his duty's is inexcusable.

  2. It is a very odd story and has been from the beginning. Reading the original car/car allowance story in the Commercial Appeal was what motivated me to start this blog. I could not believe he got a pass on this. The citizens deserve to know what is going on.

  3. Robbery with a pen as a weapon. .....

  4. Do the drug cars come with the drugs included option?

  5. So not only did he take a city car for his use, but one that was intended for GPD? Of course Chief complied, sounds like he had no choice. Am I correct? That makes me as furious as taking an allowance as well. He took a police car??!!

  6. Was Lawton required to keep a log book of ALL mileage, both personal and work related? One LOG to justify the allowance, plus another log of all miles on the City issued car? The tax payers would be much better off paying him the car allowance, as I'm quite sure over a six-year period more than $6,000 was paid for that Impala!

    Wonder if he tried to write off mileage on his tax returns?