City Sues Catrons; Alleges Hiding of Public Funds

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The city of Bowling Green is suing former Convention Center Board member Steve Catron to recover more than $700,000 in alleged misspent public funds, and alleges that Catron and his wife conspired to hide the money by purchasing property.

The 60-page lawsuit was filed Friday afternoon in Warren Circuit Court by City Attorney Gene Harmon, and Gregg Hovious, a Louisville lawyer hired to investigate the allegations and pursue legal action.

Steve and Deborah Catron own a house in RiverGreen subdivision valued at $650,000. Deborah Catron is listed as the sole owner of 4 pieces of property in rural Warren County with a combined value of $439,000. The city's lawsuit alleges that the Catron’s purchased or maintained some or all of their property with Convention Center funds, and conspired to deed the land solely to Mrs. Catron in an effort to defraud the city of its' money. The city goes on to ask the court to declare the couple's ownership of all the property void, and to place the property in a trust for the city's benefit.

The lawsuit contains eight main allegations including breach of duty as a corporate officer, wrongful spending of public funds, professional negligence, fraudulent concealment, and breach of contract.

The city's attorneys are asking for reimbursement as well as punitive damages, and reimbursement of attorney's fees.

The Bowling Green City Commission voted unanimously Tuesday at a special meeting to sue Catron, but wait until Friday to file the suit, in hopes of reaching a settlement to keep the case out of court. Contacted on Thursday, Hovious told WBKO there had been negotiations between Catron's attorney and the city within the last 24 hours, but it appears, at least for now, those negotiations failed.

Neither Steve nor Deborah Catron nor their attorney could be reached for comment.