A Criminal Court jury on Wednesday found former city Neighborhood Services Administrator Kenardo Curry not guilty of theft over $1,000 and official misconduct.
The jury in the courtroom of Judge Rebecca Stern deliberated about two hours before bringing the noon verdict.
The defense put on no proof, and the state had only a day of proof in the case that dated to 2005.
Curry initially was charged with 17 counts of theft, official misconduct and fraudulent use of a credit card.
Prosecutor Bret Alexander told the jury that Curry and special projects coordinator Mark Kleiner had gotten interested in developing a large tract in North Chattanooga and Curry signed off on vouchers to pay with city funds for a feasibility study on the scheme.
He said, "Mr. Curry and Mr. Kleiner got wind of this project. They speculated that they could either lose their shirts or they could make a lot of money."
He said the detailed feasibility report was secured "with city funds so they could put money in their own projects."
The prosecutor said he had earlier told the jury "you might not like how this case was investigated and you wouldn't necessarily like the auditor or the detective."
Defense attorney Dan Ripper said the Littlefield administration had quickly gotten rid of Curry and then began to try to prove that he had done something wrong.