A state audit again dings Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly for misspending public funds on unallowable items, including shirts, meals and parties. Kelly, and two of his employees, must repay $5,738 to the county to cover improper spending, according to the 2012 audit released yesterday by the office of state Auditor Dave Yost.
A state audit again has called out Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly for misspending public funds on unallowable items, including shirts, meals and parties.
Kelly, and two of his employees, must repay $5,738 to the county to cover improper spending, according to the 2012 audit released yesterday by the office of state Auditor Dave Yost.
Read the full audit here (PDF)
A 2011 state audit found $15,085 in impermissible spending by Kelly, including personal expenditures such as meals and $600 for men’s suits and tailoring. The sheriff still owes the county $5,205 for the findings from the 2011 audit.
In the 2012 audit, state auditors found that Kelly misspent funds from his office’s law-enforcement trust fund and drug-enforcement fund, including $4,798 for meals and 270 polo shirts for deputy and citizen-academy graduation events. In response to the audit, Kelly agreed that the money had been spent from the wrong account.
The findings involving the drug funds, which can only be spent on investigating drug offenses, totaled $512, including two parties. Two of Kelly’s employees also were deemed responsible for the misspending. A new fiscal officer and new accounting practices will ensure proper spending, Kelly said.
Yost’s office has provided inconsistent advice on which accounts should be used for certain purposes, Kelly said. “I wish the state auditor’s office would just get it together ... so we can all get on the same page.
“This is not a matter of any missing money. It’s still us fighting with the state auditor” on which spending should come from which accounts, Kelly said.
Yost’s office bristled at Kelly’s characterization of the audit’s findings.
Yost spokeswoman Brittany Halpin said, “Sheriff Kelly doesn’t get to make up the rules and he also doesn’t get to make up his own facts. His spending habits have been, and continue to be, contrary to law.”
Kelly is the target of a special grand-jury investigation involving a probe by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation that includes a review of his spending.
He also is under scrutiny for allegedly assaulting a man who was campaigning against him and for illegally destroying a large volume of public records, including some belonging to the prosecutor’s office. Kelly denies the allegations.