Treasurer's office charged cost of forensic audit

Beaufort County Treasurer Joy Logan says Beaufort County Administrator Gary Kubic and other county officials broke state law when they charged her office for the cost of a three-month-long, $250,000 forensic audit of Treasurer's Office accounts.

Logan said she noticed Wednesday four deductions worth about $183,000 from her "discretionary account" related to the audit performed by accountants from the Atlanta office of KPMG. The account is used to fund administrative costs by charging fees when the treasurer's office performs services such as preparing properties for delinquent tax sales, according to county officials.

"There's only one person who can sign checks from that account and that's me," Logan said. "That account is for Treasurer's use only. It's against the law. Do they not know what the law is?"

The audit was ordered in March by Kubic and 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone after Beaufort County Sheriff's Office investigators found Logan had failed to report a $600 theft in 2007 by former department employee Casaundra White. White was arrested May 12 and charged with stealing more than $210,000 from public accounts.

The KPMG audit, at a cost of $250,000, has been completed and turned over to Stone. Its findings have not been made public.

Though Logan has only noticed $183,000 in charges, Kubic said the entire cost of the audit has been charged to Logan's account, an action believes he was within his authority because the audit was a cost incurred by the treasurer's office.

"In fact, she should probably offer it to the county since the money was stolen out of her office," Kubic said.

Kubic questioned why Logan objects to paying for the audit from her account now. He said she has been notified of the payments every week since April.

Logan acknowledged that she was told in advance of the audit itself and that she probably should have noticed the payments being made from her account, but said county officials did not notify her that her office would be footing the bill for the review.

Because Logan has objected, the county will likely pay for the audit as a legal expense, Kubic said.

However, the county can then charge that expense to Logan's account or withhold money from her general fund allocation, essentially forcing her to make up the difference out of her account, he said.

Kubic added that the county was preparing to file an insurance claim to cover the amount stolen from the Treasurer's Office and the cost of the KPMG audit.

If the money is not repaid, Logan said she would refer the matter to Kevin Hall, a Columbia attorney hired last month to represent the Treasurer's Office.

"This is just not a professional way to do business," Logan said. "This is a personal thing. This is just politics, dirty politics."

The squabble over the audit is the latest round in an ongoing feud between Kubic and Logan, which appears to have begun when Kubic called on Logan to resign after White's arrest.

Hall and Stone could not be reached for comment Friday.