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Published: Saturday, 2/7/2004

Ray Kest s capers keep us guessing

Readers say the darndest things ...

QUESTION: I would like to know how much a person like [Ray] Kest can [get away with] before they prosecute him? Bob *

ANSWER: Great question, Bob!

You re referring, of course, to the latest news that Lucas County Treasurer Ray Kest runs a side business that uses his county-issued cell phone as the company number.

Remember, Mr. Kest is already “under investigation” for questionable dealings.

But, to answer your question, first let s count the ways in which Mr. Kest has drawn unwanted attention.

1) Charged with drunken driving while operating his county car. (Trial scheduled next week.)

2) Accused of using county car for personal use. (Defends practice with indefensible, forgettable blarney.)

3) Accused of using county funds to finance his doctorate at Cleveland State University, including “necessary hotel stays. (Defends practice by claiming degree will make him a better public servant. Cue laugh track.)

4) Accused of teaching accounting classes during work hours. (Defends self by reminding us that his $64,975 elected position is “part-time.” Hospitals report epidemic of injuries from BGL Syndrome, “busted-gut-laughing.”)

5) Accused of using county-issued cell phone for recently started mortgage business. (Defends self by claiming to repay county for nongovernmental business calls. When asked, unable to explain formula for reimbursement. Note: Public seems numb to issue of yet another siphoning of Ray s so-called work time.)

6) Are we missing anything?

So, Bob, as you can see, the ongoing career of Ray T. Kest, CPA, remains one of life s truly great mysteries. When or how it will end simply cannot be divined.

Q: This guy really thinks he s something special, doesn t he?

A: Yes.

Q: Where does a mere mortal find enough time to be county treasurer; study for a PhD; teach, and run a financial-based business on the side?

A: See preceding question and answer.

Q: Does Ray have any plans this summer?

A: Glad you asked!

Ray might teach a summer-school course, “Ethics in Everyday Accounting.” Rumor is the course description promises plenty of “real-life situations,” including case study of the instructor s own highly creative accounting methodology to calculate what he owed the county for personal calls on his county cell phone.

“I don t have a method. When I think I make a lot of personal phone calls, I make a pay-in ... I just log it in my head, and when I think I should make a pay-in, I just do it.” **

Expected to be controversial, Mr. Kest s summer class will introduce the new field of “intuitive accounting,” that is, accounting not by numbers, but by feel, as in, “Gee, sorta feels like maybe I oughta pay.

e* Actual reader question. All other questions in this column are simulated, as allowed by the 2000 Global Columnists Treaty, which reads in part: “Section 219 - Scribes are, like, totally allowed to make up stuff for satiric effect.

** Actual Ray T. Kest quote. I can t make up stuff this good.



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