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Former Rarden Fiscal Officer Failed to Perform Duties
Wrote Checks to Herself and Husband
Columbus – Illegal expenditures and mismanagement led to overspending in the Village of Rarden (Scioto County), according to a financial audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Bad books lead to big problems,” Auditor Yost said. “Now that Rarden can see where it went wrong, corrections can be made and the village can regain financial stability. Tomorrow can be better than yesterday.”
The 2011-2012 audit found that former fiscal officer Lelia Copas issued 13 checks in 2011 without proper documentation or council approval. Copas issued 11 checks to herself as reimbursements for internet expenses and two checks to accounts belonging to her husband and former Rarden mayor, Delbert Copas. A finding for recovery has been issued against Lelia Copas in the amount of $2,042.
In 2011 and 2012, Copas failed to maintain proper financial records, and the village council did not pass appropriations or monitor financial information. As a result, the village overspent a total of $28,649, and its general fund balance declined from $30,395 in January 2011 to $1,776 in December 2012.
Rarden was placed in fiscal caution on October 17, 2013. A review of the village’s financial records at that time found that account journals and ledgers with the bank had not been reconciled since 2010 and fund balances for 2011 and 2012 could not be determined.
A full copy of this audit may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.