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Former Costa Mesa Police Chief Confirms He Abused City-Issued Credit Card

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COSTA MESA (CBS) — The former police chief of Costa Mesa is coming forward to confirm that the reason he was suspended in 2010 – and that he ultimately resigned – was because he abused a city credit card, a newspaper reported.

Chris Shawkey, 52, said he used a city credit card to charge gas for his personal vehicle, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Coto de Caza resident said that his employment agreement granted him a “city-leased vehicle and unlimited mileage, but did not specify that he only could use the card or vehicle on city business,” the Times reported.

Shawkey told the Times that he improperly used the card on about 10 different occasions while driving his personal car.

He contends that he never hid the receipts, and that they were even approved by the Finance Department and then-Capt. Ron Smith, the newspaper said.

Smith was a subordinate but Shawkey reportedly insists that he would have stood up to him if he felt the chief was doing something wrong.

The city manager at the time, Allan Roeder, suspended Shawkey amid allegations of abusing his city-issued credit card and absenteeism in fall 2010, according to the newspaper.

“A recent Times Community News story about him being a finalist for a police chief’s job in Washington state made him step forward,” the Times said.

“I felt now was an opportunity, if anyone’s interested, for me to kind of get my side out there and kind of balance things out,” Shawkey told the Times. “When this whole thing happened, I never really got the opportunity to put my side out there because I was bound by the investigation at the time.”

Shawkey now runs a private investigation company and wants to work as a police chief in the future.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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