Tuesday, January 02, 2001

Ex-official will repay village

Former administrator denies intentionally stealing

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HARVEYSBURG — A former village official said he will pay back the almost $7,000 the state auditor says he received or spent improperly.

        Ex-Administrator Kimble Grant said Monday he is just waiting for the auditor to give him a total.

        “My intent is to make sure the village gets their money back,” said Mr. Grant, who is now a cook.

        “I did not deliberately do this. I had no intent to steal from the village.”

        A draft report from Ohio Auditor Jim Petro's office says Mr. Grant owes the village $6,915.90, the majority for personal items charged to three village credit cards in 1999. The final version of the audit is due today. The alleged misspending amounts to about 6 1/2 percent of the village's annual general fund budget.

        “I just couldn't believe somebody would take advantage of the little town,” Councilwoman Kathleen Brewer said.

        “Just paying it back is not going to satisfy a lot of people. I think it's going to be more than that.”

        The auditor's office said it has discussed its findings with the county prosecutor's office; Prosecutor Tim Oliver had no comment.

        Mr. Grant admitted Monday that he made some mistakes but also blamed a lack of oversight by Village Council and a lack of training.

        “I didn't know what I was doing,” Mr. Grant said. “I was just trying to help the village out.”

        The draft's findings against Mr. Grant include:

        • $735 in two checks he wrote to himself.

        • $663.44 paid on leases for two computers at Mr. Grant's home. He said bills were sent to the wrong place.

        • $1,039.39 charged to a Sam's Club card. Mr. Grant said he thought he was using his personal card.

        • $1,777.12 charged to a Lowe's credit card.

        • $1,705.20 charged to a Staples card.

               OTHER ACTIONS

        The state's draft audit of Harveysburg also:

        • Directs the village to pay Warren County $68,368. The county is owed the money under its agreement to take over Harveysburg's water department, the report says.

        • Seeks to recover $1,326.60 from former Village Clerk Melissa Basham as a result of math errors and missing records.

        • Triggered a fiscal watch of Harveysburg, issued in December. As of December 1999, several funds had deficits, and the village's balances were too low, the auditor's office said. The fiscal watch enables state officials to help straighten out Harveysburg's records for 2000.


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