People are raising questions about Cary Kennedy’s competence and oversight of city finances while serving as deputy mayor and CFO because she claims no knowledge of massive payments flowing out of city coffers to pay settlements for harassment claims and other misconduct perpetrated by city employees.
Five years before Leslie Branch-Wise, a detective with the Denver PD, made major headlines this month by accusing Mayor Michael Hancock of sending her inappropriate, sexually-charged text messages, she collected $75,000 from the city as a result of similar conduct committed by long-time Hancock buddy Wayne McDonald, who the mayor hired as an aide after he was elected.
For Branch-Wise, McDonald’s conduct became so intolerable that she asked to be removed from Hancock’s security detail because of it. She was not removed, but McDonald was fired a few days after the complaint. In line with the massive misconduct and incompetence of the Hancock administration, the city later ended up paying McDonald $200,000 for wrongful termination.
Now Kennedy, who served as Colorado Treasurer before overseeing Denver’s finances, claims that a separate pool of funds is set aside each year to handle lawsuit settlements, and that she had no knowledge of these payments.
Her lack of knowledge is either a complete lie, of a massive breakdown of oversight by her. Could you imagine the CFO of any Denver company not knowing about lawsuit settlement payments for sexual harassment cases? Hardly.
It’s time for Kennedy to come clean about what she knew about her boss’ harassment activities, and the activities of Hancock’s other personal hires. The public also deserves an answer about how, as the city’s CFO, she was cool with a system that allowed hundreds of thousands of dollars to flow out of city coffers for lawsuit settlements with zero oversight or knowledge.