Caroga finds $307K check

Funds from 2015 were never deposited

Council member Jack Glenn, left, town Supervisor Beth Morris, council member Tony Sturchio, and council member Jeremy Manning, during the board meeting Wednesday. (The Leader Herald/Briana O'Hara)

CAROGA — Town of Caroga Supervisor Beth Morris announced during the board meeting Wednesday that she has recovered a check for $307,000 dating back to November 2015 that had been missing.

Morris said the check was from certificate of deposits the town had invested in and the supervisor at the time closed out the accounts. When a check was issued, it was never deposited or cashed, but it was also never taken off of their books.

“If this money had not been found, at next year budget time, these town residents would have been facing anywhere between a 45 percent to 50 percent tax increase,” Morris said.

Morris laid out a timeline from when the check was issued and when the accounts were closed to when she, along with the bookkeeper at the time, Shannon Wager, and the town clerk, Linda Gilbert, found the missing check.

On Nov. 9, 2015, the supervisor at the time closed two CD accounts totaling $307,000. Morris said during the time she spent trying to figure out where the money was missing, she had gone through a tremendous amount of paperwork. When looking through that paperwork, she also found more funds that were due to the town.

“One check was found for $150 and I know that pales in comparison to the $307,000, but this check was made out to the golf course in 2001 and it was never deposited along with, and again I know it pales, but $20 that also was never deposited,” Morris said.

Morris said over this past summer she, with the help of her bookkeeper, found six checks that were issued to them by the U.S. Treasury in paperwork. She said those checks totaled $7,000.

“This has been the pattern, and this is what I have been working with now for the better part of six months,” Morris said.

With the help of Gilbert, they found the missing $307,000 check that had never been deposited, and they were able to find who the check was from, the account number and the amount. Morris said once she found the check she made steps that were needed to take and deposit the once-missing check in the general fund.

“The problem is that it was never taken off of the books. We were still working with that number. The board then worked with that number for a budget and we also in 2016 worked off of that number,” Morris said. “This is where annual reports come in. The bookkeeper found it because the $307,000 wasn’t in the year end report.”

“When there is no accountability, no sense of responsibility, extreme derelict of duty and betrayal of trust at a level that is incomprehensible and no oversight of certain periods of several administrations, bad things happen,” Morris said. “We are on the road to recovery and rebuilding.”