The Washington C.H. City Council accepted the resignation of Trent Dye Wednesday night after it was reported by the Record-Herald that the former council member is the subject of a civil lawsuit accusing him of defrauding his former employer of nearly $400,000.
In a letter dated Friday, Dec. 9 – the same day Dye was called by the Record-Herald for comment – Dye wrote to Dale Lynch, city council chair: “It is with great regret that circumstances have arisen requiring me to resign my seat on the Washington CH City Council effective immediately. I wish everyone the best of luck.”
The civil suit alleges Dye defrauded Paramount Freight Systems, LLC, in Jeffersonville of almost $400,000 over a three-and-a-half year period. The article detailing the complaint published in the Saturday, Dec. 10 edition of the Record-Herald. The complaint was filed in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas Nov. 30, according to court documents.
The other six members of the city council unanimously accepted Dye’s letter of resignation at Wednesday’s meeting. Dye was one of three elected to city council out of a five-person race in the November 2015 general election and received the most number of votes. He will not complete the first year of his four-year term after being sworn in on Jan. 1, 2016.
The city council now has 30 days to fill the vacancy created by the resignation. City Manager Joe Denen and City Attorney Mark Pitstick have advised council that “all that is required to fill the vacancy is a majority of city council voting to appoint a ‘qualified elector’ of the municipality” within the 30-day period.
If the council does not appoint someone within this time period, Teena Keaton, clerk of council, would be required to request a special election to fill the vacancy from the Fayette County Board of Elections “not sooner than 90 days and not more than 120 days,” according to Denen. A regular election in the same period would also fulfill the requirement. In the case of a special election or a regular election with nothing else on the ballot, the full cost of the election would be the responsibility of the City of Washington Court House.
The appointment will be for the remaining years of the term, which is roughly three years.
According to the city, “no requirement nor prohibition exists in terms of how city council elects to approach the process of appointment, save the need that the qualified elector is appointed by a majority of the remaining members of city council and the action take place within the 30-day period.”
Dye was working as general manager of Paramount Freight Systems, LLC, at the time of his resignation Sept. 23 and had been an employee since 2008, according to the complaint. Paramount Freight is a truckload carrier specializing in long haul, expedited, dedicated and regional services.
The complaint states that Dye’s general manager duties included recruiting and hiring employees. He allegedly set up a bank account for a fake recruiting company and then created, submitted and approved more than 280 fraudulent invoices to Paramount on behalf of the fake recruiting company.
The complaint states that Dye set up the scheme “to steal funds from Paramount for referral fees for drivers that never existed, for his own personal gain.”
As a result, the complaint states, “Paramount paid almost $400,000 to a bank account that was ostensibly for the recruiting company, but which is actually held by Mr. Dye.”
Paramount is seeking reimbursement for lawsuit costs in addition to the almost $400,000. According to the complaint, Dye allegedly has not repaid any of the money to Paramount.
Dye could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Record-Herald staff writer Ashley Bunton contributed to this article.