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Investigation continues on PRJ audit

An investigation of the 2017 audit from Piedmont Regional Jail continues to be conducted by Virginia State Police (VSP), Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett and VSP representatives confirmed Monday.

Wade Bartlett

“There is no update that we’ve received, except that the state police is proceeding with their investigation on it,” Bartlett said.

Corinne Geller, public relations director with VSP, said she received a comment from the state police superintendent that the investigation on the audit remains ongoing.

“Nothing new to release at this time,” Geller said.

Earlier in the year Piedmont Regional Jail Authority Board earlier in the year, asked Virginia State Police to conduct an investigation in areas that were identified in the management letter of the jail’s Fiscal Year 2017 audit. Bartlett said in an earlier interview the areas identified were related to credit card vouchers.

“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 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.”

Numerous details were also 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, during the February Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors meeting Prince Edward County Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr. said he had been given information about inappropriate behavior between a jail supervisor and an employee.