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May 25, 2024

Shelby County – Was The Hidden $24,703.94 Behind The Resistance To A Forensic Audit Of The Dive Team Funds?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 11, 2024

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

Were those who donated to the Dive Team over the last several years aware those funds were not all being deposited into any Shelby County government account where they belong?

Several months ago, the Shelby County Board voted to initiate a forensic audit of the dive team and it appears an ongoing investigation into improper handling of donated funds may be the reason behind the pursuit of such an audit.

During public comment in one of the county committee meetings, former Dive Team member Mark Shanks insisted there was no need for a forensic audit and even encouraged an internal audit rather than any outside audit.  It was clear he did not want any audit performed.

After the Dive Team quit last year there were efforts made to inventory things in the dive shed and to our surprise, a cash box was located with over $1,500.00 in cash and numerous receipts.  We understand the cashbox is in evidence at the Sheriff’s office.  Why was this cash not in the hands of the county treasurer?  The new State’s Attorney, Ruth Woolery, will have to file the appropriate action to get an order to tender the funds to the Treasurer.

The investigation resulted in the discovery that even though people wrote checks payable to the Shelby County Dive team, they were deposited into an account not owned by the government or any dive team.  Upon that discovery, a demand was placed on the entity holding the funds in violation of banking laws to return them.  That demand resulted in a certified check being issued to the county for $24,703.94.

Why were people’s donations not deposited into the county treasury where they belong? Who was earning interest on the donated funds?

It appears the irregularities with donations showing up in the county accounts began back in 2021 when there were no funds deposited into county control on behalf of the dive team.

  • Donations deposited into County control in Fiscal Year 2016 – $11,264.87
  • Donations deposited into County control in Fiscal Year 2017 – $7,030.00
  • Donations deposited into County control in Fiscal Year 2018 – $3,131.22
  • Donations deposited into County control in Fiscal Year 2019 – $29,394.00
  • Donations deposited into County control in Fiscal Year 2020 – $5,490.00
  • Donations deposited into County control in Fiscal Year 2021 – ZERO
  • Donations deposited into County control in Fiscal Year 2022 – $220.00
  • Donations deposited into County control in Fiscal Year 2023 – $25.85

A Freedom of Information Act Request for key financial records was improperly denied by the Dive Commander claiming he had no responsive records to my request for the following.

  • A copy of all receipts for funds donated to the dive team and not turned in to the County Treasure in the last three years.
  • Any documents that would reflect cash on hand in the building used by the dive team in the last three years.
  •  A copy of all receipts for purchases made with funds in the control of the dive team or any designated person rather than the county treasurer in the last three years.

Even after being informed by the former State’s Attorney to provide the requested records, Prichard has refused to provide the records. He now holds the badge of honor as the ONLY Shelby County Official who has failed to comply with our FOIA requests over the last several years.

We understand the forensic audit for the dive team funds is underway and the public will receive a full accounting of how their money was being handled.

We will continue to update on this matter in future articles.

Dive Donations Returned

 

 

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1 Comment
  • Wolfgang
    Posted at 21:52h, 11 May Reply

    Not desiring a forensic audit = verrrry interesting.

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