Former Hamilton County Schools Transportation Director Charged with Theft and Misconduct

Former Hamilton County Schools official David Eaves was arrested and charged with misusing his work vehicle for commercial purposes and misappropriating funds. Eaves allegedly used his work vehicle to make food deliveries and provide rideshare services during work hours, resulting in over $18,000 in misappropriated salary payments.

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Former Hamilton County Schools Transportation Director Charged with Theft and Misconduct

Former Hamilton County Schools Transportation Director Charged with Theft and Misconduct

David Eaves, the former school official for Hamilton County Schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has been arrested and charged with multiple counts related to misusing his work vehicle for commercial purposes and misappropriating funds. Eaves allegedly used his work-assigned vehicle to make food deliveries and provide rideshare services through apps like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash during work hours.

Why this matters: This case highlights the importance of proper oversight and accountability within government institutions, as well as the need for stronger internal controls to prevent fraudulent activities. The misuse of public funds and resources can have significant consequences for taxpayers and the community, underscoring the importance of transparency and ethical behavior in public service.

An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller's Office found that Eaves spent nearly 24,000 minutes, equivalent to 399 hours or 11 weeks, working for these services while being paid by the Former Schools Transportation district. He performed work for the food delivery or rideshare services on 933 occasions during work hours, resulting in more than $18,368.19 in misappropriated salary payments.

Eaves admitted to using the work-assigned vehicle for eight months to make deliveries, but the investigation revealed he allegedly began making deliveries on his first day of employment, March 20, 2017. He was suspended and placed on unpaid administrative leave on May 19, 2022, after admitting to the misconduct. Eaves then requested early retirement, which was approved by the school district effective July 1, 2022.

In addition to the misappropriated salary payments, Eaves is accused of making $1,475.91 in questionable fuel purchases using school district funds while performing the commercial deliveries. Comptroller Jason Mumpower stated, "Hamilton County Schools officials must ensure they provide adequate oversight of employees and the department's fuel card usage. Hamilton County Schools should reconcile fuel purchases on a monthly basis and consider requiring employees to document where they traveled."

The Comptroller's article found that the school district had inadequate oversight of Eaves' duties and fuel use. Eaves was paid $7,682.68 for accumulated vacation and sick leave when his early retirement request was granted in July 2022. He now faces charges including theft over $10,000, forgery over $10,000, violation of the Tennessee Personal and Commercial Computer Act over $10,000, destruction of and tampering with government records, and official misconduct.