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Story Archives: Mayor says state audit expected for Ridgecrest
|Mayor says state audit expected for Ridgecrest|
Ridgecrest's newly-appointed mayor said Monday night that 10 of the town's 12 certificates of deposit (CDs) amounting to $52,072.52 were closed out in 2010 without the knowledge or authorization of the town council.
Mayor Dwayne Sikes also said he expects a full financial audit to be conducted by state agencies.
District Attorney Brad Burget said Tuesday that his office referred the Ridgecrest matter to the State Inspector General and the Legislative Auditor.
Assistant Legislative Auditor Allen Brown said Wednesday that he has seen the financial report filed by the CPA firm of Silas Simmons.
"There are matters that cause us concern," he said. "At the moment we are considering what steps we should take."
The Ridgecrest Council meeting Monday followed the release of a financial report last week from the town's CPA -- Silas Simmons of Natchez -- that $25,399 of town money can not be accounted for. The report said that of $136,723 deposited per the payment register, only $111,324 was deposited in the bank. That resulted in an unreconciled difference of $25,399, the report said.
As a result of "insufficient documentation," the CPA firm said it could not express an opinion on the town's financial situation.
In early November, then Mayor Kevin Graham resigned from office, while Town Clerk Dana DeLaughter has since been placed on administrative leave without pay. Sikes said Graham did not give a reason for his resignation.
After Graham resigned, the council appointed Sikes, an alderman and mayor pro tem, to serve as mayor until an election can be held next year to fill Graham's unexpired term. At Monday's meeting, the council appointed Cindy Halford to fill Sike's vacated alderman post.
Other council members include Jamie Harrison, Wanda Smith, Courtney Thompson and Robert Maples.
Sikes said Monday night that the 10 CDs closed out without the required authorization of the council came from the town's road fund, which is financed through a portion of the proceeds generated by the parishwide road tax.
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