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State to investigate jail

The Piedmont Regional Jail Authority Board is asking Virginia State Police to conduct an investigation into areas that were identified in the management letter of the jail’s Fiscal Year 2017 audit, according to Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett. Bartlett said the areas identified were related to credit card vouchers.

Wade Bartlett

“That will be done to try to determine exactly what occurred and if there are any areas of weakness or if there were any laws broken,” Bartlett said. “That will be the focus of the State Police, will be any illegal activities. That’s what we’ve asked them to do.”

As The Herald has previously reported, Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates generated a memorandum that essentially summarized the audit of the authority, detailing a lack of official documentation for expenditures of public funds and seemingly hundreds and perhaps multiple thousands of dollars in excessive spending.

The memorandum notes that jail employees had 24 overnight stays at the Hilton Garden Inn in Glen Allen throughout the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, with only three charges including a documented purpose.

“Management had various travel expenses throughout the year with no documented purpose of the business trip or personnel involved,” officials cited in the memorandum. “Hotel charges were paid with jail credit cards with little support other than hotel bills, and a travel expense detail form was not utilized. In addition, almost every hotel room throughout the years was booked under the superintendent’s name, making it difficult to ascertain who occupied the rooms.”

Donald Hunter

Many other details were conveyed in the memorandum.

Former jail Superintendent Donald Hunter retired shortly following the memorandum’s release. Hunter also serves on the Farmville Town Council as the Ward D councilman.

Additionally, Prince Edward County Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr. noted having been given information about inappropriate behavior between a jail supervisor and an employee.