Del. Treasurer Addresses Spending Controversy - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Treasurer Addresses Spending Controversy with Massive Document Dump

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC - After months of controversy,  the Delaware treasurer hopes a massive number of documents made public Wednesday will put questions to rest.

In August Chip Flowers's office started facing criticism over alleged use of state funds on personal expenses. That issue led to the resignation of his deputy, Erika Brenner.

Reports of potential misuse of funds continued. They centered around trips to national conferences in places, like Alaska and Seattle.

Flowers addressed those reports at a news conference Wednesday along with the release of financial documents related to spending on travel at his office.

Flowers says there was no misuse of state money.

"The inaccurate information about the office's travel expense has served as unwarranted distraction for Delaware and its treasury," he said, in prepared remarks.

He says more than 300 pages of records prove that.

"These records will show that I used my state credit card only for official business."

Flowers says he did owe the state about $150, which he paid back. He added an internal review showed issues with the handling of some reimbursement forms. The personal responsible could have faced disciplinary action but has actually already retired.

Last week state Senate Republicans sent a letter to Flowers urging him to get his office in order. Sen. Gary Simpson, R-Milford, is minority leader.

"I'm glad to see that he's admitted that there was not proper oversight," he said.

Simpson says he's willing to believe Flowers if he opens his finance records to the state auditor.

Flowers says money spent at the two conferences in Alaska and Seattle was on the up and up. But he'll still personally reimburse the state almost $900 in connection with them.
Simpson questioned that move.

"(I'm) questioning perhaps why he feels it necessary to reimburse the state if he didn't do anything wrong," said Simpson.

"I'm reimbursing the people of the state of Delaware, because I believe the public misperception has clotted reality of what happened in Alaska," Flowers said.

But even as Flowers tried to downplay issues at the Treasury, he acknowledged some mistakes had been made.

"I sincerely apologize to the people of the state of Delaware for the confusion and the distractions that have occurred as a result of mistakes made within my office."
Flowers pledged a number of changes in his office to restore the public's trust in the treasurer's office.

He says his office will deal with reimbursements in connection with those conferences in Alaska and Seattle. The Treasury will hire a new fiscal officer directly supervised by the treasurer.  Flowers says he'll use a personal credit card for certain travel expenses. And finally, the office will cooperate with a state auditor's office review.

Click here to look at travel expense documents from Chip Flowers.

Click here, here and here to look at travel expense documents from Erica Benner.

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