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March 21, 2014

Admitted embezzler still holds clerk position

RUSH SPRINGS —

The Rush Springs city clerk who admitted to embezzlement in late February still holds his position with the city, although he is no longer the signatory for finances.

John David Morrow was arrested for embezzlement following an independent audit, and he later admitted  to investigators from the Grady County District Attorney's office that he took $12,461.02 from the City of Rush Springs, according to an arrest report. Morrow had been in full control of the city's payroll, tax deductions, insurance premium payments and all financial information for city employees, including himself.

Last week the Rush Springs Board of Trustees held a special session and appointed Court Clerk Kathy Adamson as deputy clerk to be a signatory. Adamson said she is now responsible for singing off on all the city's financial transactions.

David Perryman, a state representative whose law firm is employed by Rush Springs, said since Adamson's appointment, Morrow has removed himself from financial responsibilities.

"It's my understanding that since that time, the clerk has recused himself from those duties," Perryman said. "It was voluntary."

Since Morrow is an elected official — he began his first term in 2005 — the Board of Trustees cannot simply remove him from the clerk position, Perryman said, even if they wanted to. 

"They can't even initiate the removal process," Perryman said. "He's an elected official, so he's hired by the citizens. He has statutory duties that can only be removed in three ways."

Unless Morrow resigns, sees his term out or is removed from his position by the DA's office in an ouster proceeding, he will remain in his position, Perryman said. Morrow goes before a judge in a preliminary hearing on April 9 to face the felony embezzlement charges brought on by the DA's office.

"Other than that, he is still an innocent man until proven guilty," Perryman said.

Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs), who is currently running for governor, said he has spoken to both council members and Perryman about Morrow and his position. He said council members assured him they are watching the books closely as Morrow awaits trial.

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