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State audit reveals bookkeeping mess in local village

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SHREVE VILLAGE, Ohio - Public employees racked up thousands of dollars in unsupported village credit card charges, including for sushi and room service, according to a state audit of the Village of Shreve's financial records.

The state audit reviewed financial records for the Wayne County village from 2013 and 2014 and revealed critical gaps in basic bookkeeping. Shreve lacked supporting documentation, such as receipts, for $3,042 in village credit card purchases, according to the audit report released Tuesday. Auditors determined $2,773 of that was for proper public purposes based on other similar transactions. However, $269 in charges from sushi restaurants, a Japanese steakhouse and Hilton room service during staff training trips did not have receipts that could prove the charges were proper.

“The village credit card is not just a diner's club card, and at the very least you have to be able to demonstrate what you were doing benefited the taxpayers,” Auditor of State Dave Yost said.

The audit also found issues with checks written to replenish the village’s petty cash account, $312 of which could not be verified through documentation.

“The books were a total mess,” Yost said. “You couldn't make heads or tails of it.”

Shreve's financial records were in such dire straits that at first, the state couldn't perform the audit until the village got some of the records in order, according to Yost.

“We know that our documentation was not good. We understand that now,” Shreve Mayor Bruce Biggs said.

The audit outlined a series of needed changes, and Biggs said the village has already corrected problems by increasing credit card documentation and getting rid of the petty cash system.

“I assure you that we did not steal anything. It's just, we did not have the proper documentation to say where the stuff was going,” Biggs said, adding that the village allows reimbursement for meals during travel.

He said village council terminated former fiscal officer Jamie Greegor in September as a result of the bookkeeping problems uncovered by the audit.

“This indicated to us the job was not being performed which she was hired to do,” Biggs said.

The audit found nothing criminal, and both Greegor and Biggs repaid funds in question out of their own pockets.