AP audit exposes illegal payouts, duplicate payments

An accounts payable audit conducted by the office of Missouri auditor Thomas Schweich uncovered duplicate payments and unconstitutional payouts to senior employees of Chesterfield's Monarch Fire Protection District (MFPD), the Chesterfield Patch reports.

Auditors found that $280,000 of extra pay given to seven MFPD executives violated the state's constitution by effectively raising their past salaries. As a summary supplied by the auditor's office explained, the Missouri Constitution "forbids granting any extra compensation to public employees for services already rendered," as quoted by the news source.

Duplicate payments to the pension attorney were also revealed, along with a plethora of other violations including "excessive health, vacation and sick leave benefits" and undocumented lobbying expenditures.

"I have not done an audit with that many violations," said Schweich, as quoted by the news source.

On a scale of excellent, good, fair and poor, he awarded the district a "fair" rating, noting that the haphazard financial operations put the MFPD at an increased risk of fraud and embezzlement.

Missouri was recently named as a high-risk state for loss from misappropriation in the 2011 Marquet Report on Embezzlement.

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