Mayor gasses up personal cars at government pump

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WELLSTON, MO (KTVI) - No apologies from a city mayor, caught on camera filling up his wife`s truck on your dime.

It happened at a government gas pump at the St. Louis County Police Academy.  It`s typically for police officers who get a code from their city.  The code gives them access and tracks the amount of gallons they use.  In Wellston, the mayor also gets access.

Our investigation began when we obtained dash cam video taken by a police car in another municipality.  It happened after dark May 23rd.  The video appears to show Wellston Mayor Nathanial Griffin at the pump in a Dodge Challenger, with his wife`s Chevy truck behind him.  We pulled the records kept by St. Louis County. They show Mayor Griffin used his gas card at 8:43 pm to fill 19.64 gallons.

For some context, a Dodge Challenger gas tank holds about 18-19 gallons.

We found a pattern of fill ups exceeding that tank capacity 17 times in a three-month period, including the day after the mayor announced his town was disbanding the Wellston Police Department and joining the new North County Policing Cooperative.

On June 2nd, the records show he filled up with 19.52 gallons of gas at 10:52 pm.

We showed the records to former Wellston Officer Michael Weaver, who said, 'This right here, this is crazy. You`ve got 8 o`clock, 9 o`clock, 10 o`clock.'

Weaver worked traffic.  He said he was 'constantly' driving.  Yet Weaver filled up much less than half what the mayor did, according to records obtained by the Fox Files.

Documentation for March through May show officer Weaver used about 285 gallons on the job, costing $479.13.  In the same time period, Mayor Griffin used more than 613 gallons costing taxpayers $1,072.99.

Weaver said, 'If he`s using an excess of more than police cars, which are pretty much running 24 hours a day, then yes that would prompt an investigation.'  Weaver also wondered about the mayor filling up personal cars.  He added, 'There`s an unmarked Crown Vic readily available that`s parked in front of an address that he supposedly lives at and it`s probably parked there right now.'

We found that car day after day, unmoved from an address listed as Mayor Griffin's mom`s house.  It`s the address he listed when he ran for office.

We caught up with the mayor who told me, 'Whatever car I`m going to use to do my city business in, then I`m going to put gas in that car.'

Reporter Hayes followed up, 'What I`m saying is this car doesn`t hold 19 gallons of gas.'

Mayor: 'No this doesn`t.'

Hayes: 'But on that day you filled up with 19 plus gallons of gas. How is that possible?'

Mayor: 'That`s the truck, you`re a pretty smart guy.'

Griffin admitted he sometimes fills up his wife`s truck, but only when he`s going to use it.  He said, 'I use the truck to do city business as well.  Whichever car that is available for me.  Whether my wife uses one car, I use the other.'

Hayes told the mayor, 'It gives the appearance that you and your wife are both filling up.'

Mayor: 'And that`s the thing, if you have a wife you understand, if she want to drive the vehicle, I`m not arguing with her.'

The records show he gassed it up repeatedly, 17 different times he filled up with more than 19 gallons.  During the same time period we found only 5 times when a police officer filled up with that much gas.

The mayor added, 'It`s definitely justified because I do city business all day every day. That`s the only time I`m driving my car is when I`m doing city business.'

Hayes: 'It might be hard for some people to wrap their brains around the fact that you`re using more gas than even the most active police car. You`re doing that much city business?'

Mayor: 'Oh I`m doing a lot of city business. I can`t say what the police is doing, but I know what I`m doing.'

Hayes: 'And why was the Crown Vic parked in front of the Wellsmar address, not moving for weeks at a time before it came to the code enforcement officer to here?'

Mayor: 'Because it was something wrong with the vehicle, uhm but once I got the vehicle (working) than I ended up giving it to the environmental officer.

Mayor Griffin believes Wellston residents will see the proof in how often they see him in the community.  We`ll follow up to see if police investigate.

Follow Chris Hayes @ChrisHayesTV

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