Officials in Monroe County’s Benton Township are attempting to clean up the mess left behind after an audit report revealed former trustee Heather Cohee used township money inappropriately.
The report lists more than $4,000 in overpaid salaries and more than $78,000 in undocumented payments Cohee made to herself, her daughter and her husband Todd, a Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy and former Deputy Trustee. Township Board Secretary Eric Schmitz says the trustees have written a letter to Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gall.
“We wanted to make a formal request on the part of the township that they review the audit report and to determine whether there is any basis for performing any sort of legal action,” Schmitz says.
The trustees plan to hire a professional bookkeeper to help them sort out their finances. Monroe County Financial Director Steve Saulter volunteered to help the trustees conduct an informal bank reconcilement and found a considerable differences from their annual report.
“It basically means for the township there’s an uncertainty in a sense that they really do not know where they stand financially as of the end of 2011,” Saulter says.
Saulter recommended the trustees make only necessary payments, like rent and utilities, until they get a sense of how much money they actually have. The trustees have written a letter to Cohee requesting that she repay the amounts listed in the audit report.