On January 9th, the SCPR did a blog, which among other points, raised the question of how much it was "really" going to cost for Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor to do her forensic audit of the Stark County Treasurer's office.
CLICK HERE to review the prior blog.
Rota Cutter, head cashier in the treasurer's office, emailed the SCPR with a report that the actual contracted cost - by contract - would be $210,000. Rota advised The Report that the number could be confirmed with county administrator Mike Hanke. The SCPR did contact Hanke and he confirmeS that Rota had her number correct.
The SCPR was glad to be in a position of getting the attention of the treasurer's office so that we could get a correction of numbers that The Repository had published which proved to be ill-founded.
Rota's willingness to correct the forensic audit cost numbers got The Report to thinking.
Is Rota a person in the treasurer's office that will give the Stark County public some idea of how much taxpayer money is missing and which Treasurer Zeigler alleges that his former chief deputy Vince Frustaci took.
Why so much focus on how much money is missing?
Because if more than the bond money ($500,000) on Frustaci (should Zeigler's allegations prove true) is missing, then the question becomes how much and is there a civil liability case to be brought on behalf of Stark County taxpayers to make the county whole on the missing money.
Former Canton mayor Janet Creighton posed this question to the SCPR recently.
Normally, if there is to be a recovery action instituted for Stark County taxpayers, it would fall to the Stark County prosecutor's office (civil side) to move on behalf of Stark's taxpayers.
But the SCPR believes such would not be appropriate in this case.
Prosecutor John Ferrero's office does not appear to the SCPR to be a proper entity to act on behalf of taxpeyers, if there proves to be a need, Ferrero's office will not do because of obvious "conflict-in-interest" factors.
So the question is this: Is Ferrero's office preparing for the possibility that Stark's taxpayers will need looking after and lining up outside counsel to take a look at the potential legal culpabilities from within the treasurer's office and determining whether or not action should be taken?
Of course, if it turns out that a legal determination is made that substantiates Zeigler's accusation of Frustaci and more than $500,000 is missing; it would be nice to have an inkling ahead of the actual finding so that Ferrero's office can be looking for alternative advocates for Stark County taxpayers
Surely someone within Zeigler's office has a good idea of how much is missing.
But apparently they aren't talking.
As of January 14, no answer from Head Cashier Cutter.
Apparently some numbers are more important than others?
Is knowing a number on the missing money really all that important?
On second thought, perhaps not.
There is the issue of the admitted cost of $210,000 for a forensic audit that would not otherwise, but for the missing money, have been needed.
Even if the county suffers no out-of-pocket on the missing money, shouldn't a look be taken at recovering the cost of the audit?
The word is that bonds on covered employees does not cover such things as the cost of forensic audits.
Accordingly, Ferrero's civil division should be in the planning mode no matter what.
Nonetheless, it would be nice if Head Cashier Cutter or someone else would give some sort of indication of how much money seems to be missing.
After all, it is our (taxpayer) money!!!