On January 19, 2010, Kentucky State Auditor Crit Luallen released an audit of Nicholas County’s forfeiture fund. It contains the following, which I’ll excerpt here:
The sheriff has $40,401 of disallowed expenditures from his drug forfeiture account. During the review of expenditures from the sheriff’s drug forfeiture account, auditors noted $40,401 that will be disallowed:
- $37,746 lack of support
- $2,655 unnecessary and personal
These expenditures consisted of:
- $15,456 in checks written to cash and cash transfers that lacked any supporting documentation,
- $16,037 for a payment to a car dealership with no supporting documentation and was not registered in the county’s name,
- $1,264 for exercise equipment and other personal items,
- $4,484 written to the bank having no documentation,
- and other items totaling $3,160 that had no support or were for unnecessary items.
Kentucky law (KRS 218A.420) requires drug funds forfeited to the sheriff’s office to be used for “direct law enforcement purposes.” Only expenditures that are documented to be for direct law enforcement purposes will be allowed.
In addition, the sheriff is required to expend all drug account monies on allowable expenditures as defined in Kentucky court ruling guidelines.
In Funk vs. Milliken, 317 S.W.2d 499 (KY. 1958), Kentucky’s highest court reaffirmed the rule that county fee officials’ expenditures of public funds will be allowable only if they are necessary, adequately documented (to be for direct law enforcement purposes), reasonable in amount, beneficial to the public, and not personal expenses.
When monies are spent on disallowed expenditures, the sheriff is required to deposit personal funds in the account to cover these items.
The audit recommends the sheriff reimburse the drug account $40,401 for these disallowed expenditures. The audit further recommends in future, the sheriff maintain adequate documentation for all expenditures of his office. This finding has been referred to the Kentucky State Police for further review.
The audit is available in full here.