Memphis Judge takes another expensive trip, at taxpayer expense - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

More Gavel Travel: Memphis Judge takes another expensive trip at taxpayer expense

Judge Earnestine Hunt Dorse Judge Earnestine Hunt Dorse

(WMC-TV) - You paid for another high priced trip for a Memphis City Judge. Last month, the Action News Five Investigators uncovered receipts showing thousands spent on judicial conferences in the Caribbean, Las Vegas, and the Gulf Coast, just to name a few locations.

The judge at the center of that investigation, has done it again, this time it cost you nearly $2,600.

Judge Earnestine Hunt Dorse didn't want to talk about her travel the last time we were face to face.

"I'm ending the interview at this time," Judge Dorse said then.

The public scrutiny of her taxpayer funded trips didn't stop her from sending you another bill.

Her trip to Baltimore, Maryland for the National Bar Association convention cost taxpayers nearly $2,589.

Judge Dorse arrived two days before the conference started.

She stayed at a Marriott hotel away from the conference location. On the receipt are both her and her husband's name.

Here's the bill for those two extra nights in Baltimore.

Hotel: $575.

Car rental: $100

Valet parking: $80

Meals: $100

Total: $855, for the two days leading up to the conference.

Once the conference started - she moved into the conference hotel, a Hilton, at $172 per night. That's $115 dollars cheaper than where she stayed the two previous nights.

She kept the rental car for seven days, at a cost of $360. Factor in gas, valet parking, and meals - and the grand total for the Baltimore trip cost nearly $2,600.

Judge Dorse shares a travel budget with two other city judges. Records show over the past 3 years - they spent $63,600. Dorse's travel expenses account for 71-percent of those costs, going to 24 events over a 29-month period.

Judge Dorse says the trips are necessary for her to get her required Continuing Legal Education credits. So far, this year, she has charged taxpayers for six events ranging from Puerto Rico to Las Vegas.

The Executive Director of Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education says you don't have to travel far to get your credits.

"We have thousands of providers that provide CLE credit. Hours could all be obtained in Memphis," Judy Bond-McKissack said.

So why then is all of this travel being approved?

Memphis CAO George Little says under current policies he has little authority over city judge travel expenses, since they're elected.

Efforts by members of the Memphis City Council to cut the judge's travel budget have failed in the past.

Just last month one council member called the expenses a misuse of city funds.

Judge Dorse's assistant told Action News 5 the judge was not available for an interview. She also declined to respond to my questions about her latest trip.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly