Audit: Recreation funds used to pay off personal credit cards – American Press

The former accountant/secretary of the Oakdale 1 Recreation District used public funds to pay for her personal credit cards, a state investigative audit has revealed.

The audit released Monday by Louisiana Legislative Auditor Michael “Mike” Waguespack found that $86,889 of Recreation District funds were used to make 93 payments on two personal credit card accounts belonging to the former accountant. /Secretary Melissa “Lisa” Schaefer.

Schaefer served as part-time district clerk and accountant from 2012 until her death on March 11, 2021. She also served as city clerk for 19 years.

City audits conducted shortly before Schafer’s death and those that followed found nearly $1 million in questionable spending, including the transfer of nearly $360,000 from the city’s bank account. to his three personal bank accounts. The audits also accuse Schafer of manipulating automated clearing house transfers to pay herself $769,136 above her allowable salary for more than seven years and receiving an additional $13,378 in payments she didn’t have the right to pay. right to receive.

According to the latest audit, $86,889 from the Recreation District was used to pay Schafer’s credit cards between January 2012 and February 2018. No documentation could be found to show that Schaefer was entitled to the payments or that the purchases had been made for the benefit of the district. By using district funds to which she was not entitled, Schaefer may have violated state law, according to the audit.

Copies of the audit were sent to the Allen Parish District Attorney’s Office and the US Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.

The state began its investigation into the Recreation District’s finances after it uncovered inappropriate dealings at the Town of Oakdale and learned that the former clerk was also the Recreation District’s accountant.

Recreation District Chairman Thomas Davis Jr. accepted the findings in a written response to the audit and said the matter was referred to counsel for the Allen Parish Police Jury to determine whether the improper payments could be recovered.

Davis also said all bank statements will now be forwarded directly to the district accountant who will review and reconcile the bank statements before final approval by the recreation board. The board is also working on a written policy for employee reimbursements.

Schafer’s husband, Randal, also responded to the audit by saying that all Recreation Committee work was done at his office at City Hall and that any checks, bills, files or other items would have been kept in his office at City Hall. Additionally, he said his wife had told him in the past that she would buy pool items and be reimbursed.

Randal Schafer also said the recreation commission had done clean audits in the past and wondered where those audits were.

“I think if you find the audit reports, most of the information you need will be with them,” he wrote.

Randal Schafer said he was very confident that there was or was documentation to be found that would help resolve the situation.