County Audit Uncovers Over $13,000 Missing From Parks Department

Missing cash from the Grover Cleveland Golf Course

Mike Baggerman
August 24, 2017 - 12:53 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw announced on Thursday that over $13,000 in cash went missing from the Grover Cleveland Golf Course.

"A certain parks employee in November of last year reported that a significant amount of cash was missing," Mychajliw said. "Just a few weeks later when our accountants were running through deposits, we saw there were very serious irregular deposits being made by the parks department."

Mychajliw said that the his office questioned the parks department over this missing cash and irregular deposits. Initially, the parks department reported only $7,000 in missing cash, according to Mychajliw, but it wasn't until the comptroller's audit was concluded that they discovered approximately $13,664 went missing. 

"Because there is an active criminal investigation taking place, we are not allowed to look at a lot of the receipts," Mychajliw added. "The dollar figure of cash missing pertaining to county parks could be a lot more. I have not been able to quantify exactly how much because we were denied access to the records.

He said that following the investigation, he will have his auditors continue to pursue the parks department to see exactly how much money was taken.

In the meantime, Mychajliw recommended that the parks department utilize depository safes, install video cameras for security, and asked for the parks department to deposit cash into the bank on a daily basis so that money can be properly accounted for.

"It is the sole responsibility of the Poloncarz administration or the county executive to implement and make sure those policies are being followed," Mychajliw said.

We reached out to the county executive's office and were told that Thursday's press conference was "an election year media grab by the comptroller".

Mychajliw responded to the election year criticism by saying he hired an outside and independent accounting firm that recommended which departments to audit. 

"(According to that firm) certain offices there is higher risk than others," Mychajliw said. "County attorney? Incredibly low risk because they don't handle cash. Parks? Incredibly high risk because they handle cash. So we actually follow the blueprint of the risk assessment to exactly what we're going to audit and how often we're going to audit."

LISTEN: Full Press Conference with Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw
 

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