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Findings for Recovery of $20,736 Issued Against Former Employees of the Village of Highland Hills in Cuyahoga County
For Immediate Release
COLUMBUS – Findings for recovery of $20,736 were issued Thursday against former employees of the Village of Highland Hills in Cuyahoga County, stemming from misappropriated rental and vending receipts and late remittances of pension and tax withholdings, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.
The issues were among 13 findings and numerous management letter comments included in an audit of the Village’s finances for 2016 and 2017. The full report is available online at https://ohioauditor.gov/auditsearch/search.aspx.
Among other deficiencies and material weaknesses, state auditors identified 91 rental and vending receipts totaling $18,600 that were not ultimately deposited into the Village’s bank account.
The Village owns apartment buildings and collects rental payments from residents, along with cash from vending machines inside the buildings. According to the audit, “There were no formal policies or procedures in place documenting the process to be followed for rental receipts collections. Rental lease agreements were not properly maintained and unable to be located by the Village.”
Findings for recovery were issued against the employees responsible for tracking and depositing the missing funds, including $17,633 against Angela Jones, $256 against Danita Love, $130 by Dale Carter, and $581 against Velma Ashford. Love, as former Village Administrator, is jointly and severally liable for $18,344 in findings for recovery not directly attributed to her.
Auditors also determined Highland Hills submitted employees’ withholdings for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund late in multiple months in 2016 and 2017, resulting in penalties and interest totaling $2,136.
Additionally, the Village was late in remitting federal income tax payments in Fiscal Year 2016 but was placed on a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service.
The findings for recovery were issued against Duane Morris and Andrea Morris, former finance directors for the Village.
Andrea Morris repaid her portion, $520, in December 2022. Duane Morris and his bonding company are jointly and severally liable for the remaining $1,616.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Keith Faber, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.
Contact: Marc Kovac