The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 1, 2013

Princeville audit report late again

LGC blaming the town's poor bookkeeping procedure for delay

Calvin Adkins

PRINCEVILLE — The Town of Princeville’s annual audit report is past due for the second consecutive year, but this time, the fault does not lie solely in the hands of the town adminstration. The North Carolina Department of State Treasure State and Local Government Commission, which took over the town’s finances last July, is responsible.

The LGC is blaming the town’s poor bookkeeping procedures for the delay. LGC took over the town’s finances after records showed the town;s financial condition was in complete disarray. The town’s cash flow was limited, accounts were past due, water and sewer bills from customers were not being collected and questionable travel charges and other expenditures were being made.

 The LGC has not made an indication when the audit will be completed.

“We continue to work on completing the accounting records so that an audit can be completed,” said Walton Robinson, LGC press secretary/public relations specialist.”

The audit was due Oct. 31, 2012 for the fiscal year July 2011-2012. State statutes require all municipalities to complete their audits by Oct. 31. Last year, Princeville submitted its audit in April. Between the deadline and the month it was submitted, the LGC wrote several letters to the board concerning the late submission.

The audit revealed 19 material weaknesses and received a qualified opinion, which means serious deficenses were found in the operation of the town. The audit exposed the town’s poor financial condition, bookkeeping problems and neglect of managerial responsiblities.

The audit also caught the attention of LGC. Three months later, LGC took over the town’s finances.

It wasn’t too long afterward that LGC discovered questionable credit card charges made by Mayor Priscilla Everette-Oates and former town clerk Diana Draughn as well as questionable reimbursements to Everette-Oates, commissioner Isabelle Purvis-Andrews andinterim town manager Maggie Boyd.

LGC gave each person 30 days to produce documents to prove the funds used was permissible by the town and within the budget guidelines. The time passed since that demand has been well over the 30-day limit LGC imposed.

“An investigation is ongoing by another state agency and we cannot comment on that at this time,” Walton said.