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Sat, Dec 16, 2017 12:39 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Financial records for Martin water board found
INEZ — Financial records for the past year pertaining to the Martin County Water District were "miraculously" found in a filing cabinet at the district office last week.

American Water Services project manager Dave Cooley said he had been led to the documents and took them to board accountant Linda Sumpter.

"The documents we have been searching for for weeks have miraculously turned up," County Attorney Kennis Maynard said. "Well, at least that's progress, but where have they been all this time?"

Cooley said the documents were in a filing cabinet and that an employee had "directed him to them." He declined to name the employee, but later identified him as former office manager and current AWS employee Maurice Mills.

Board chairman Greg Scott said that the documents were bank statements, but Linda Sumpter said she had not had time to go through the box to find out exactly what she had.

"If there are statements from 2002, we will be able to reconstruct the year to be able to do the report of expenditures and revenue for the Public Service Commission report," Sumpter said.

Scott asked Sumpter if she would be able to have a clearer picture of the financial situation of the board by its next regular meeting at the end of the month, and Sumpter said she would.

Scott said that Sumpter had given permission for a check to be drafted to pay a bill and that a special meeting would be called for April 7 to approve the payment. Scott said American Water Services had received a payment on April 3 and that another payment would follow soon.

Former board chairman Mike Cain attended the meeting to answer questions about the finances. Cain said he was the one who chose what bills to pay and thought he had a handle on them until a new set of bills was sent to the district office in December.

"These new bills came out of nowhere," Cain said. "There was a tax bill from 1999 that we knew absolutely nothing about. I would have thought that would have been brought to our attention before then."

Cain said there should have been cancelled checks, minutes of the activities of the board, bank statements, and deposit information at the district office. If they were not there, he said he didn't have any idea where they would be.

"If Maurice (Mills) was hired as office manager, wasn't it his job to keep up with this," Maynard asked.

"He (Mills) got the bills together and I picked out the ones we would be able to pay," Cain said. "He set up an accounting system, sorted bills, and tried to keep track of what we brought in and what bills we had."

"He was the one who found the documents in the filing cabinet," Cooley said.

Mills, in an interview after the meeting, said he had never been asked about the bank statements.

"They might have asked other people, but they never asked me," Mills said. "If they had I could have told them there were 12 months of bank statements in the office."

Sumpter said she now has the bank statements and cancelled checks, but she was unsure about the exact contents of the documents.

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