City of Columbia employee quits, claims he was asked to break the law

Scott Blackmon

/ Adam Pinsker

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- Less than a week after the public learned the federal government is investigating the city of Columbia over questions about how the city manages federal loan programs, the man hired to fix the city's loan programs six months ago has resigned.

Scott Blackmon says he quit his city job Monday after less than a year because he doesn't "want to go to jail" due to improprieties he says he discovered and also because of internal obstacles within city government he says kept him from doing his job properly.

Blackmon told WACH Fox News Wednesday he told city leaders about the poor record keeping and lack of organization he found pertaining to loan records, and he says that city leaders told him to keep that information quiet.

"Some of the things I was asked to do were not (just) immoral but illegal," said Blackmon.

Blackmon resigned Monday on the same day news broke that the U.S. Commerce Department is investigating how Columbia officials manage the loaning of federal money. Last month, the agency suspended the city's federal funds because Columbia had been unable to produce documents pertaining to 80 loans issued since September 2008.

Columbia's chief financial officer Bill Ellis says the city has the correct loan information but it wasn't recorded properly in the federal computer system.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also taking a closer look at Columbia's community development department.

What do you think about Blackmon's claims he was asked to engage in illegal activity while working for the city of Columbia? Please leave a comment and give us your thoughts.