Taylor Releases Audits of Clinton South Joint Fire District and Village of Midland

Allegations Arise that Former Fiscal Agent Misspent Thousands of Dollars

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Clinton County -

Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the audits of the Clinton South Joint Fire District and the village of Midland. The audits show that both entities employed the same fiscal agent who is facing allegations of illegally spending more than $21,000.

“These audits identify the potential misuse of taxpayer funds and those responsible must be held accountable,” said Taylor. “My office will continue to strive to root out the fraud, waste and abuse of public tax dollars.”

The audits indicate that Vivian Dearth, of Midland, Ohio, was the clerk/treasurer for the Clinton South Joint Fire District. Dearth was also employed as the fiscal officer for the village of Midland during the audit periods in question. She is no longer an employee of either entity. Between the two entities, it is alleged Dearth misspent $21,763.32. Detailed dollar amounts potentially owed back to both entities are outlined below.

Village of Midland, fiscal years 2004 - 2005
• $2,015.82 in improper cash purchases including soda, bottled water, fast food and village checks written out to “cash”
• $1,519.21 in improper credit card purchases at various locations including Wal-Mart, Speedway and Best Buy
• $885.05 in improper gasoline card purchases
• $700 in salary overpayments

Village of Midland, fiscal year 2006
• $11,530.37 in salary overpayments
• $1,238.16 in improper credit card purchases at various locations including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target and Home Depot
• $706.56 in improper gasoline card purchases
• $209.58 in improper purchases of gasoline, candy and soda

Clinton South Joint Fire District, fiscal year 2006
• $1,893.57 in improper purchases including computer printer equipment, candy and swimming goggles
• $1,065 in salary overpayments

The audits also identify certain trustees with the fire district and certain Midland village council members as jointly liable for the misuse of public funds since they approved the purchases and overpayments.

Separately, the audit identifies an additional $2,565 in salary overpayments made to Midland council members that should be repaid. Council voted to give themselves a pay raise and their salary was immediately adjusted.  however, state law says salary increases should only be applied to the councilmember’s next full term.

Complete copies of both audits are available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2008/Clinton_South_JFD_06-Clinton.pdf and http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2008/Village_of_Midland_06-Clinton.pdf