HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS — A county-commissioned forensic audit of the building department has been delayed due to the heaps of information it must review.
The audit was initially contracted following the lagging sheriff’s investigation, which began late last fall and took around six months to complete. Alvarez & Marshal Forensic and Dispute Services, LLC, was contracted by county commissioners on April 1, and were expected to complete their audit by May 2. But in an email on Monday, May 5, the firm asked county commissioners to extend that deadline to June 16. The consultants asked for the extension “given the large amount of data received from the County, coupled with the large number of people that have been identified as handling checks or cash.”
According to a status report included with the email, the consultants have collected more than 10,000 building department permits issued since 2001. They have entered the permits into a database to analyze amounts charged.
The auditors are also comparing electronic data to the treasurer’s office records on deposits from the building department. The report notes, however, that the treasurer’s records only go back to 2005, which could be a limiting factor in their investigation.
The auditors also met with the sheriff’s department and obtained other source documents from the building department and treasurer’s office. They interviewed Treasurer Christina Whitmer, Building Department Head Scott Penson and Finance Director Scott Berger. They’ve determined more than 100 people handle cash or checks in the county.
Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.