Written by Kelly Kaczala
Tuesday, 13 May 2008 09:57
The state auditor's office is reviewing the financial records in Jerusalem Township following allegations of missing credit card receipts and other possible financial irregularities.
"The state auditor sent two people to the township," said Trustee Joe Kiss, who won election to the board last November on a platform of restoring fiscal responsibility to the township. "I don't know what they came up with."
Kiss said the township did not request an investigation. “Someone anonymously contacted the auditor’s office and requested they look into the books,” he said.
Township Fiscal Officer Julie Van Nest said it was not an audit.
"They are looking at the financial records. I don't know what they were looking for. I haven't heard from them since," said Van Nest. "They said they would get back to me."
Messages left with the State Auditor’s office were not returned to The Press.
The township has been in an uproar since Kiss made a public records request of former Fiscal Officer Don Murray for the township's credit card statements soon after being sworn in last January. Murray said he froze the books and requested an audit following Kiss's allegations of fraud. Kiss denied he accused anyone of fraud, only that he wanted to see the credit card statements.
Trustees Joe Gray and Rodney Graffis, who often vote together, have backed Murray and not Kiss.
Murray was asked by a resident at a trustee meeting in March when the audit would begin. Murray said it would likely be in April.
But The Press learned that Murray, who left office on March 31, never requested an audit.
He also never complied with Kiss’s public records request.
A firestorm developed just as Van Nest started her term as fiscal officer on April 1. Residents packed trustee meetings, pressuring Gray and Graffis to release the records.
Van Nest complied with Kiss's public records request, and has been busy since taking office making copies of records for others, including The Press.
Kiss said he was going to ask Gray and Graffis at the next township meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to pass a motion requesting Murray return township office supplies. Murray worked at home much of the time. It is the second time Kiss has made such a request. At a trustee meeting last month, Kiss made a motion to request Murray return computer programs and other township supplies, but it was never seconded by Gray or Graffis.
"I urge the public to show up at the meeting so we can get some answers," Kiss said last week.