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November 25, 2012

Fate of auditor bond unclear

Councilman wants answers.

TIPTON — Since Amanda Inman resigned as Tipton County Auditor in June, the county has spent at least $40,000 trying to balance the county’s financial ledgers.

Inman resigned on June 1 after using county funds to pay personal utility bills with county funds, funds that have been since repaid to the county.

There is an Indiana State Police investigation underway on the use of county funds by Inman. The ISP is awaiting an audit report from the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

During last week’s meeting of the Tipton County Council, Council President Scott Friend questioned why the county has not filed claims to recover some of the expended funds through a bond and insurance on Inman’s performance.

“The council is making difficult decisions,” Friend said. “We have appropriated tens of thousands of dollars with Maximus to straighten out the books.”

Friend said the council asked Commissioner Jane Harper to research how to recover some of the expended funds through the bond and insurance policy.

“Road blocks were put up,” he said. “A county employee paid personal bills. We are trying to act responsibly. The county paid for a bond, the bond covers losses due to negligence and theft.

“It is the commissioner’s job,” Friend said. “Why has nothing been done?”

Friend said the council wants to know why the commissioners are not trying to recoup the money through a bond the county paid for.

Harper said she filed a claim with the bond company and submitted documentation. She said a letter was sent by John Brooke, county attorney, to the bond company stating any submissions were improper.

Friend said someone engaged the county attorney to contact the bonding company.

“The county attorney has been involved in the whole deal,” Commissioner Phil Heron said. “We’re waiting until all the facts are known.”

Friend questioned why the county attorney would be involved with the filing of the claim?

Heron said Brooke wanted to have all the evidence before deciding what action to take.

“He is waiting on a summary from [Maximus’] Jacque Clements,” Heron said. “Why jump without all the facts or what our rights are?”

Heron said once Brooke has all the facts the documentation will be provided to the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

“It will be turned over to the proper people,” he said.

The county will continue to pay for Inman’s bond and insurance through the end of the year, current Auditor Gregg Townsend said.

Friend said he is assuming the county will continue to pursue the possibility of recovering some of the money spent to correct the county’s bookkeeping ledgers.

“I’m confident that if we’re legally entitled to it, we will get it,” Heron said.

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