Pike County: State audit uncovers $85K in undocumented spending by convention bureau chief

Pike County: State audit uncovers $85K in undocumented spending by convention bureau chief
Photo: Pike County Convention and Visitors Bureau Facebook page

WAVERLY, PIKE COUNTY - The executive director of the Pike County Convention and Visitors Bureau used the bureau’s credit card and checking account to pay for $85,390 in undocumented expenses, according to an audit released Thursday by State Auditor Dave Yost.

The audit covered bureau finances from 2013 through 2016.

“Our auditors found an agency that lacked the most fundamental internal financial controls,” Yost said in the news release.

“There were no policies governing bank reconciliations or travel and mileage reimbursements, and officers did not keep accurate ledgers of receipts and disbursement accounts. The payroll ledger for the period also was incomplete. Payroll taxes were collected, but not all were remitted to the state and federal governments.”

The convention and visitors bureau is not the only county agency under the state auditor’s microscope.

Auditor’s investigators are looking into allegations Pike County Sheriff Charlie Reader used drug forfeiture money to support a gambling habit and misused seized vehicles.

Last month, they served both the county auditor’s office and Reader with subpoenas requesting most, if not all, of his records from the entire time he has been in office, a copy of a subpoena shows.

RELATED| Subpoena for probe into Pike County sheriff | Complaint: ‘Reader just does whatever he wants’

The audit findings for the Pike County Convention and Visitors Bureau audit have no connection to the separate Pike County investigation, a spokesman for the State Auditor’s Office said Thursday.

We have a request for comment into the convention and visitors bureau and will update this story once we hear back.

A finding for recovery for the $85,390 was issued against its executive director, Sharon Manson, Yost said.

She claimed $22,602 was for business expenses, but she provided no receipts to document those expenses, according to Yost.

The remainder of the finding included electronic transfers, additional expenditures and credit-card transactions that lacked the documentation to prove that they served a proper public purpose, auditor’s officials said.

In addition, two bureau trustees are jointly responsible for part of the findings against Manson because they signed some of the checks for the undocumented expenses, the news release states.

Trustee Juli Manning, who no longer serves in that position, was issued a finding for recovery of $1,786 and Trustee Julia Dixon was issued a finding for recovery of $13,334.

Auditors tested 2,269 transactions and found 914 that lacked proper documentation, the audit determined. These included credit card and business checking accounts, as well as an account for the county’s bicentennial celebration.

Auditors also tested 219 receipts and found that 95 were not properly documented to show that the receipts were deposited and accounted for, auditor’s officials said.

The bureau even failed to prepare annual financial statements for the years reviewed, auditors reported

Due to the small size of the bureau staff, it was impossible to segregate financial duties - a key financial safeguard, the audit concluded. Because of this, trustees should have exercised careful oversight of the executive director’s financial operations, but failed to do so.

Auditors recommended that the bureau adopt and implement internal financial control policies to address the numerous gaps identified in the report.

A full copy of this report is available below:

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