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May 24, 2024

Shelby County – Trust, But Verify

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 13, 2024

Shelby Co., Ill. (ECWd) –

During the April 2024 Shelby County Board meeting, Shelby County Dive Team Commander Austin Prichard read a statement about trust.

“The definition of trust: assures reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something, one which confidence is placed.” (emphasis added) (see first video below)

Before we go any further, this article is not about the abilities of the dive team to do their job.  This article is about the statements made by Austin Prichard during public meetings and their relation to his speech about trust.

Stand Down

“Tomorrow marks nine months that the dive team was stood down” – Austin Prichard (see second video below)

That statement is not true.

The dive team was stood down on July 12, 2023, and on July 18th, 2023 a resolution was approved to stand them back up properly.  That is not nine months of being stood down as falsly claimed.  The reason for the stand down was covered in a closed session meeting of the board and those facts tell the truth of the matter for those willing to actually read and listen.  We covered that information in this article.

The truth is Shelby County went approximately nine months without a dive team because they quit, not because they were stood down for nine months as claimed.

Police Report – Trust must work both ways

Less than 24 hours after being appointed as the Dive Commander, Austin Prichard contacted the Shelbyville police and alleged records had been stolen from a file cabinet and he wanted to press charges. He goes on to claim no one is to have access to them and no one should have removed them.  For the sake of some Jake Cole humor, there was no evidence anything was stolen as no one was found guilty in a court of law.

UPDATED:  The truth of the matter, nothing was stolen.  The files were taken for good reason. The County Board Chairman and the Treasurer entered the building on April 4, 2024, to gather records due to the start of a forensic audit. The same audit that members of the dive team did not want.  We understand on March 29, 2024, three board members entered the dive building, and a cash box filled with receipts and over $1,500.00 of cash was located.  The State’s Attorney was notified and advised it be placed into evidence with the Sheriff, which we understand is currently in possession of the cash.  There was no mention of missing money in the police report.  The records from the file cabinet were financial receipts and personnel records and since human resources as well as financial information is handled by the Treasurer, she took possession of them and secured them in her office.  The applicable financial receipts were forwarded to the forensic auditor. (Chain of custody letter obtained from the Shelby County Treasure)

A copy of the police report can be downloaded at this link, or viewed below.

Dive Team Wex Cards

“When I set that up, I was set up as the admin, Erica had a login where she could see it any time, Jessica had a login where she could see it anytime, so they could pull information from it. ”  (See third video below)

After the dive team quit, the investigation into the WEX cards initially resulted in a claim by Prichard that the dive team did not possess any credit cards.  That was not a true response as those cards were secured from the dive shed, which led to the next issue, access to the account.

The treasurer did not have any login information for that account as claimed by Prichard.  After Prichard quit the dive team and WEX cards were secured, the treasurer sent this letter to gain access to the account.  No such letter would be necessary if she had actual login information as claimed by Prichard.

The Clerk, Jessica Fox, indicated, to her knowledge, she never had access to the Dive Team Wex cards.

“To my knowledge, I have never had access to the Dive Team Wex cards.  At one time I had access to the EMA Wex card following the departure of Jared Rowcliffe, but I believe that account has since been closed.”

When it comes to the spoken word from Mr. Prichard, we have a hard time trusting it in light of the historical record.

2024-04-12 Police Report_Redacted (002)


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1 Comment
  • Droopy: Master Sergeant
    Posted at 16:46h, 13 May Reply

    I am curious if Mr. Cole or Christine Matlock want to stand up and yell now?!?! File a police report and name the very person responsible for county funds?
    Perhaps, but doubtful, Cole and Matlock will realize how they have been lied to and used to protect those who knew there was something to hide. Maybe after Matlock takes an oath of office she will realize she has an ethical duty to taxpayers to pursue the truth and act accordingly.
    Wake up Shelby county, you are being lied to. Looks like city of Shelbyville needs a forensic audit.

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