Ex-Chattanooga Neighborhood Services Director Kenardo Curry not guilty on theft, official misconduct charges

Ex-Chattanooga Neighborhood Services Director Kenardo Curry not guilty on theft, official misconduct charges

March 6th, 2013 by Todd South in Local - Breaking News

Kenardo Curry

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Kenardo Curry was found not guilty of theft and official misconduct today.

The theft and official misconduct trial began Tuesday for the former Neighborhood Services director.

Curry, 47, was fired shortly after Mayor Ron Littlefield took office in 2005 and later indicted on 17 theft counts, one charge of fraudulent use of a credit card and one charge of official misconduct.

At the beginning of the trial, Curry's attorney, Dan Ripper, told the jury that his client was the victim of Littlefield's scorn and the scapegoat for audit problems despite evidence otherwise.

"There won't be a question in your mind, not a one, that they were going to get Mr. Curry one way or another," Ripper told the jury.

Prosecutor Bret Alexander admitted to jurors that there would be statements they'd hear and methods they wouldn't agree with throughout the trial. But he asked them to wait to hear all of the evidence.

During the first day of the trial, jurors heard an hour-and-a-half-long audio recording in which Sewell and a city detective interrogated Curry's co-workers.

One co-worker involved in alleged theft, Jennifer Center, saw her charges dismissed in 2011 when evidence seized from her home had been accidentally destroyed by Chattanooga police.

Sewell told some of those interviewed, "You can either be a witness or a suspect."

Ripper pointed to much of the recording as evidence investigators were targeting Curry from the beginning of the investigation.

The audit showed that Curry also used $25,000 of city money on four pairs of earrings, electric recording equipment, digital cameras, a DVD player, a television, two airplane tickets and work on painting, heating and air conditioning systems at the Church of God of Prophecy.