Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the News4 I-Team's Chief Investigative Reporter. He has won multiple Midsouth Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards.

When Democrats in the House caucus first learned that money was missing from their fundraising account, they suspected a former staffer may have taken $3,000.

An audit released for the first time to the House Democratic caucus revealed by a CPA firm discovered a much higher amount: $12,575.

“I was deeply hurt and saddened because he worked for me,” said Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis. “It paralyzed me, almost, because he was like a son to me as well.”

Camper said her former legislative aide, Derrick Tibbs, resigned on Dec. 3, 2018, after he admitted to her that he’d made put her in a bad situation and would pay restitution.

Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, first uncovered the fact that money was missing from the account, and his signature was on checks to Tibbs that he hadn’t actually signed.

Derrick Tibbs, Democratic staffer who resigned Monday

Derrick Tibbs is accused of writing checks to himself and cashing them from a taxpayer-funded account.

Tibbs has not responded to several phone calls and text messages from the News4 I-Team.

Camper herself came under scrutiny from some of her fellow lawmakers at the caucus meeting, because, before she was named minority leader, she was the treasurer.

“You say you weren't scrutinizing every expenditure, every check coming through there?” asked Rep. Bo Mitchell, D-Nashville.

“No. I will say no to that,” Camper said. “I did probably put too much trust in him than I should have. I'll take the hit on that.”

Stewart said the caucus would immediately file a civil judgement that would force Tibbs to pay back the money in installments.

“I've talked to some of you that have talked about criminal prosecution, and I do think that's something the caucus can consider,” Stewart said.

Ken Jobe, spokesman for the House Democrats, said criminal charges could be filed at a later date if Tibbs doesn’t pay the money back in full.

Rep. Vince Dixie, D-Nashville, who is the new treasurer of the caucus, said he intends to put more safeguards in place, including the possibility of a CPA firm handling the money.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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