Audit: Food Vendor Didn’t Pay Rental Fees of $122K to Franklin County Vets Memorial
Columbus – A food vendor’s failure to pay nearly $122,000 in rental fees to the former Franklin County Veterans Memorial went undetected for years, state auditors reported today.
The Columbus-based company, Concessions by Cox, was required to calculate the rental fees based on event sales and pay the memorial on a monthly basis. But a state audit found the company did not pay nine months of fees from 2011 through 2014, when the memorial ceased operations.
Rodney Myers, the memorial’s former general manager, was in charge of supervising concessions operations, but auditors said he did not establish internal controls to help ensure the payments were made on a timely basis.
“Mr. Myers deserves at least half of the blame for this glaring oversight,” Auditor of State Dave Yost said. “His negligent management of this vendor’s activities allowed the memorial to get shortchanged year after year without anyone noticing.”
Because of the lack of controls, the memorial missed out on $114,473 from the nine months of unpaid fees. On several other occasions, the company miscalculated the fees, causing underpayments of $7,466.
State auditors issued a finding for recovery against Concessions by Cox, ordering it to pay the overdue funds to the memorial, which has yet to dissolve. The company sent a check for $121,939 to the memorial on Nov. 9. That money was deposited into a bank account maintained for the memorial’s financial closeout activity.
The audit report also reveals that Myers never paid a personal debt of $40,000 he owed to Concessions by Cox. Accounting records show the company wrote off Myers’ debt against the monthly rental fees owed to the memorial. The matter is still under review.
Auditors issued an unrelated finding for recovery against Myers for excessive severance pay he received in December 2014. He was entitled to a payout of $8,106 for 70 hours of unused vacation leave, but the memorial paid him an additional $5,016 for 80 hours of unearned leave. He has yet to repay the memorial.
A full copy of this report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 6,000 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.