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Questioned charges lead to new WDI credit card policy


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Wilmington City Council member's concern means a new credit card policy for Wilmington Downtown Inc. Councilwoman Laura Padgett questioned some charges to the group's account.

WDI executive director John Hinnant admits he used the card to buy grocery and cigars and for some other charges, but later reimbursed the organization. Hinnant told WWAY he doesn't think it was wrong or is wrong. Still WDI is working on a policy that limits the corporate card's use for business purposes.

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Today's word of the day:

Today's word of the day: CHUTZPA...

In another local news venue we find this story:

I am most confident that WWAY will be according this story its own well done treatment soon too.

The long and short of this story is that Mr. Sparks' engineering firm was engaged to inspect an apartment complex to determine its suitability for purchase by the Wilm Housing Authority. The engineering firm OK'd the purchase. Unfortunately this apartment complex has been found to be unfit for occupancy.

It was disclosed in earlier reports that the original contract with the engineering firm required that the firm carry errors and omissions insurance. THIS INSURANCE WAS NOT PURCHASED BY THE FIRM.

Had this firm been properly insured, Mr. Sparks would be represented by insurance company attornies and the city would likely by now be reimbursed.

Mr. Sparks' lawyers want the CITY to pay for their services in defending Mr. Sparks for HIS NEGLIGENCE... CHUTZPA. Temerity to the tune of about $8600!!!

Money is hemmorhaging out of our budget and here's our council all atwitter about a guy who bought some groceries and a few cigars with a company credit card.

Council needs to spend some time in front of a mirror and think of its own actions before ripping Mr. Hinant to pieces...

Most corporate credit card policies....

....include a statement such as this:

"The card is intended to be used for business related expenses only. Personal charges unrelated to business are not authorized and such use of the card may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. The company reserves the right to pursue recovery of unauthorized or personal expenses even after an employee's termination, which may include civil remedies and/or criminal charges."

WDI needs to adopt a similar policy, and I must question either Mister Hinnant's knowledge and experience or his ethical fiber.

If he is unfamiliar which such a common business practice, then it points out the danger of appointing "someone's buddy" to be in charge of the till. How could he not know this...and why would a man who makes a salary as high as his have to float a loan to buy groceries?

More likely he is quite familiar with such provisions from past employment, but now considers himself above the tens of millions of Americans who live within such rules every day.

This isn't some small, family-owned business where such practices are common and accepted. As long as taxpayer money is subsidizing WDI, the accounting had better be spotless. If not, it simply fuels the fires of corruption that are becoming the hallmark of this county and state.

BTW, Kevin.....has the audit revealed the records of repayment....?

Credit Card

No question about it termination is in order. This is a form of fraud and Mr. Hinnant would have fired any employee who took company funds for personal use. It was a short while before he repaid the amount. I hate to think that Mr. Hinnant and wife are so short of money that they have to use the city's money to entertain friends!!!
now we will see just what the ethics are for city council, however, remember their trip to D.C. where they had a big time at city expense, spouses/dates expenses covered until they were caught!!!

Using a company or nonprofit

Using a company or nonprofit organization's credit card is in effect obligating the organization to repay a debt. It is basically borrowing money in the organization's name. For Mr. Hinnant to say he doesn't feel using the organizations funds for personal reasons is wrong (even if he pays it back) shows complete unprofessionalism on his part. I can't believe he would actually say that on camera.

I am an auditor (CPA) who investigated similar presonal uses of a company card at a Charlotte nonprofit. In this case, the executive director was fired by the Board of Diectors after the investigation.

The bigger question is why Mr. Hinnant used the company card in the first place. Does he not have a credit card of his own? Does he not have a personal debit card or checkbook? Are his personal finances in such a position that he has to "float" himself a loan on the organization's credit card to make it to payday? If so, should he really be in a position where he is in charge of WDI's finances? Cases like these demand investigating to determine whether fraud has occurred. Using company funds for personal reasons is a huge red flag. WDI's auditors will have a field day with this.


You cannot possibly be a CPA and have made those comments

Why would you say that? WDI

Why would you say that? WDI is a non-profit corp that is funded partially by gov't (taxpayer) dollars. And it's exec is using these dollars to buy his groceries and cigars? It is a PR nightmare for a nonprofit when it's disclosed that these types of things are happening. It's probably not illegal, as long as the nonporfit allowed this type of activity to occur, but definitely not what would be considered good accounting practices.

Sure.....he reinbursed the

Sure.....he reinbursed the organization. Why didn't he pay for the items with his own money to begin with?


did it take 2 months for him to reimburse?


you know if it were me and my card was declined, i would have pulled out one of my other cards and tried them first. What an idiot for thinking that he could use the companies money for something like that.