BUFFALO, NY-- Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw released a critical audit on Thursday of cash handling practices at county golf courses. It pointed over $13,000 missing from the Grover Cleveland Golf Course.
The audit was initiated after irregularities were noticed in bank deposits from Grover Cleveland.
The comptroller's office then found out the course superintendent was fired in late December. 2 On Your Side is not naming the superintendent because he has not been charged, but the 64-year-old was responsible for making the cash deposits.
According to Mychajliw, when they pressed the parks department, they ultimately told them that $7,000 was missing. Under more scrutiny, they then admitted the number was nearly $13,500 in course fees that went missing.
Mychajliw said the disappearance of the cash is roughly equivalent to lost greens fees from 1,000 residents... he called it "highly suspicious. Taxpayers got ripped off, period. there are literally a thousand people who went to a county golf course and paid for county services and this money went into somebody's pocket, that's dead wrong," said Mychajliw.
The County Comptroller says that he had made several recommendations in 2013 to the county legislature and county executive that they tighten up procedures as to the handling of cash, including daily deposits. He added that if those recommendations had been followed, that money would not be missing.
The three main recommendations are having safer safes, security cameras and making cash deposits daily. "The less money around, the lower the risk of someone stealing that money," said the county comptroller.
The Erie County Sheriff's Department is conducting a criminal investigation into the missing money. However, at this point, no charges have been filed.
Peter Andeson, spokesman for the Erie County Executive said the employee was fired due to violations of county policies. As for this case of missing money, Anderson said the employee reported a break-in reported in a car at Grover Cleveland and the cash was reported missing.
Anderson said the recommendations by the comptroller have not been ignored. "The audit that was recently completed had recommendations for cash handling policies for Erie County golf courses. The recommendations in that audit were either in the works or completed by the time the audit was completed."