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State Audit Shows Pulaski Group Paid Double

SOMERSET, KY -- A group working to preserve a Civil War battlefield in Pulaski County was reimbursed twice with federal money -- a total of more than $400,000 -- for the same project, a state audit has found, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

State Auditor Crit Luallen's office referred that information to the FBI for possible investigation.

Audits covering two years also found that during fiscal year 2005-06 -- a year the incumbent judge-executive and some magistrates were up for re-election -- Pulaski County overspent its budget doing road projects by more than $160,000, the Herald Leader reports.

The audits also questioned nearly $10,000 in credit-card charges by the director of the local economic-development office. Luallen's office recommended that the county attorney look into whether the development director should have to pay back any money to the county.

The information was contained in the county's fiscal 2005 and 2006 audits, covering July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2006. Luallen's office released both Friday.

Some bookkeeping and financial problems were repeated from one year to the next, auditors noted, reports the newspaper.

"It's always a serious concern when we have problems of managing public funds that continue year to year," Luallen said.

The 2005-06 audit found that when the fiscal year ended June 30, 2006, the county had overspent the available road-fund balance by more than $200,000. Later transfers of money owed to the account reduced the deficit to $169,672, the audit found.

2006 was an election year. Barty Bullock defeated then-Judge-Executive Darrell BeShears in the Republican primary in May; the problems noted in the two audits occurred before Bullock took office, the newspaper reports.

The audit found a number of other shortcomings in the two fiscal years. They included that the county bought vehicles without following proper bidding rules; took longer to pay bills than allowed; let some key employees get their checks early; and had negative balances in several checking accounts in the 2005-06 year.

Bullock told the Herald-Leader that his administration has corrected the problems noted in the audits. BeShears was not available for comment Friday.

Luallen's office is responsible for seeing that each county's books are audited annually, either with state auditors or outside accountants, , reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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