Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 21, 2014

Lockport city worker's attorney fires back on credit card use

LOCKPORT: Says city officials were aware of credit card use.

Niagara Gazette —

LOCKPORT — City officials were well aware that Youth and Recreation Director Melissa Junke was using a city credit card to cover expenses for a golf tournament fundraiser for her department, according to Junke's attorney, George V.C. Muscato.

And there's documentation to prove it, he added.

Last week, the Common Council voted 5-1 to hire Brian D. Doyle, a Hamburg attorney, to investigate whether covering the fundraiser's expenses was a misuse of the a city credit card given to Junke by Mayor Michael W. Tucker. The investigation is expected to conclude within the next three to four weeks.

According to 42 pages of credit card receipts and purchase orders, the card was used to make $9,080.77 in purchases related to the June 2013 golf tournament. The receipts were obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The expenses included $4,820 in round-trip air fares to bring six people to the event, five of whom flew in from Florida while the other flew in from Boston. Two of them brought companions.

Other spending included more than $3,200 for party supplies, ranging from candy and hot dogs to raffle tickets and folding tables.

The $85-a-ticket tournament was held June 3 at the Lockport Town and Country Club. It was set up by Lock 34 Bar & Grill which is owned by Junke's brother, Brian. The golf tournament wasn't very successful, only bringing in $1,500, with which Junke made four deposits, Muscato said.

Muscato said Tucker and the city Common Council were aware of the tournament and its purpose of raising money for the youth department. A sign-in sheet of a May 6 Youth Board meeting showed two aldermen, Alderman Patrick W. Schrader and Alderwoman Kathryn J. “Kitty” Fogle, attending the meeting. Muscato said plans about the golf tournament was shared at that meeting.

Tucker even attended the fundraiser, which included a basket raffle.

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