published Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Trial date set for former Chattanooga city employee charged with theft

Nearly six years after a grand jury's most recent indictment against Kenardo Curry, the former Chattanooga Neighborhood Services director will go on trial for official misconduct and 17 theft charges on Sept. 18.

Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern set the trial date on Tuesday.

Curry's charges stem from a 2004 audit and later findings in which, prosecutors say, Curry made "questionable" charges to city credit cards.

Court records indicate that alleged improper spending began in 2003 and extended to more than a dozen employees under Curry's supervision. A Hamilton County grand jury indicted Curry in June 2006.

Prosecutors dismissed theft charges against former city employee Jennifer Center after Chattanooga police destroyed evidence that was to be used in the trial against her.

Stern wrote at the time that the evidence destruction amounted to "gross negligence" on the part of police and the "circumstances call into question whether [Center] can be provided with a fair trial."

Curry's attorney, Dan Ripper, sought diversion for his client in July 2011, but Stern denied that request.

Assistant District Attorney Charlie Minor is prosecuting the case. He wrote in his response to the July request that Curry had taken no responsibility for his actions while Neighborhood Services director.

An audit found that Curry used $25,000 of city money to pay for four pairs of earrings, electronic recording equipment, digital cameras, a DVD, a TV, two airplane tickets and painting and heating and air conditioning work on the Church of God of Prophecy.

In his diversion request, Curry blamed co-workers and his position as director for the charges against him.

Tiffany Leigh Bercher, Mark Kleiner and Sandra Love received judicial diversion for one count of theft each.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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