Housing Board wants deeper look at books

Skip Schulz/Daily Mining Gazette In a split vote, the Ontonagon Village Housing Commission Board this week mandated a deeper audit of the commission’s finances than the standard one submitted by its staff.

The Ontonagon Village Housing Commission (OVHC) Director Sally Jarvey reported on the commission’s audit done Nov. 28 at its meeting earlier this week.

“We informed the auditors before they started our audit about accusation about the Housing Commission and its employees,” she said. “We gave them all the minutes, newspaper clippings, and a copy of the seven pages of accusations that were presented to the board. Secretary (Sue) Lockhart informed the auditors that she had called Anderson Tackman in August to let him know what was going on.”

Jarvey said, “The auditors thanked us for the information and it was determined the auditors would then be doing a more extensive audit due to the information given them. This more extensive audit would protect the auditor and the Housing Commission in light of the accusations made.”

The OVHC handed out the audits. The board unanimously approved Jarvey’s report.

During the final public comment at the end of the meeting OVHC Commissioner Rich Ernest made a motion for a different audit to be done by what he called “an independent auditor.” His motion called for a forensic audit and if necessary looking into obtaining an attorney.

A forensic audit is an examination and evaluation of financial information for use as evidence in court. A forensic audit can be conducted in order to prosecute a party for fraud, embezzlement or other financial claims. Ernest stated he did not want this matter to go to legal authorities.

Ernest questioned why gas and other purchases were not addressed in the audit.

Ernest stated that Holiday has a Fleet account for the OVHC, and an OVHC employee should be using this account.

At the start of the meeting the board agreed to an agenda that did not have the issue of a different auditor to be hired for a forensic audit. Yet the commission voted 3-2 to hire a different accounting firm to do a forensic audit and keep the option open to hire an attorney.