Two city employees run online magazine on taxpayers' time - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Two city employees run online magazine on taxpayers' time

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By Fatima Rahmatullah
Eyewitness News

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Two Chattanooga city employees are running an online magazine on taxpayers' time.

Missy Crutchfield and her assistant Melissa Turner work for the Department of Education Arts and Culture.  Be Magazine is a private for profit company that Crutchfield created.  The city is now auditing the department to make sure no boundaries were crossed. 

"She has admitted she's done wrong, now we want the independent audit to tell us how much that she's done that's wrong," says City Council Chairman Manny Rico. 

 Rico is referring to Missy Crutchfield's online website "Be Magazine." The website was created as for-profit entity.

Richard Beeland says the mayor was not aware of that. "He immediately asked Ms. Crutchfield to stop the relationship and not work on it or any other thing outside of city work during work hours."

Council member Sally Robinson says there needs to be a clear line between anything that you're doing as an entrepreneur and what you're hired to do for the city.

"I think what she's done has backfired that it was not well thought out and I suspect that any affiliation or association is there with the city is going to be shutdown," says Robinson.

Crutchfield says she was just trying to protect the company as an LLC, which basically makes it "for-profit".

"Yes an honest mistake, the LLC. I suppose I should have said it's an LLC I wasn't thinking profit," says Crutchfield. 

In 2006 the city faced a lawsuit, because of Crutchfield's work. She contracted InsideServices to create a website on behalf of the city without permission. The project was well over $30,000.

"You want to get on with your work you want what's fair to happen. The lawyers are all working on that. This is 5 years ago," says Crutchfield.

The city never paid InsideServices because city council didn't sign off on it.

So, InsideServices sued the city, and later Crutchfield, to get their money.

The lawsuit is still pending.

In January, Crutchfield filed motion to dismiss her as defendant. 

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