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Village to meet with state police over missing funds

May 30, 2012 - Oxford Village officials scheduled a meeting for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 with the Michigan State Police (MSP) to determine what, if anything, the agency is doing or plans to do about the municipality's missing funds.

"There's still an open investigation to the best of my knowledge and our knowledge because (we have) not been told otherwise," said village Manager Joe Young. "That's why we're asking (for) a meeting with the sergeant."

Council's meeting with MSP Det. Sgt. Joseph White will be in open session as an agenda item during this regular village meeting.

Village attorney Robert Bunting will also be present.

White is the detective who investigated former Deputy Clerk Marion Patricia Paad for the alleged embezzlement of more $3,300 in village property tax payments from three residents in 2006-07 and nearly $600 in village police funds in 2010.

The tax payments in question were allegedly repaid to the village via personal funds supposedly loaned to Paad by Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth in 2007 in order to cover up the alleged embezzlement. The police funds in question are still considered missing.

Last month, an Oakland County Circuit Court jury acquitted Paad of five felony counts of embezzlement by a public official over $50. She was terminated by the village in March 2011.

During the course of the Paad investigation, the village conducted its own investigation, which revealed the municipality is missing approximately $20,000 in property tax payments from 2010. This amount consists of about $4,000 in cash payments and about $16,000 in check payments, according to Young.

Paad was never charged with any crimes related to this missing $20,000.

Council wants a "status update" regarding what state police are doing, if anything, as it relates to this $20,000 in missing funds.

"We need to know that the investigation is going to continue," said Councilman Tony Albensi.

"We're on a fact-seeking mission here," said Councilman Elgin Nichols.

Village resident Bonnie Staley agreed

that something needs to be done about these missing monies.

"To me, this is your responsibility," she told council. "You should have the answers for this."

Council made it clear it's not interested in meeting with White to analyze what happened at Paad's trial.

"I don't think we really need to rehash the trial, in my opinion," Albensi said. "That is what it is."

Councilman Dave Bailey agreed.

"Everything about the trial is a matter of public record," he said. "If anybody wants a transcript, which is probably about that thick, you're welcome to read it. So, we have no need for a meeting about the trial."

Madonna Van Fossen, director of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), noted how her board passed a motion on May 21 requesting that if an investigation is conducted into the village's missing $20,000, that it also include DDA funds discovered missing during a 2008 forensic audit.

According to former DDA Chairman Mark Young, the forensic audit revealed discrepancies between village records and Oakland County records pertaining to the amount of tax revenue the DDA should have received in previous years.

The audit showed the DDA received $11,928 less than it should have for the 2005-06 fiscal year and $3,371 more than it should have for the 2006-07 fiscal year.

Staley expressed her frustration with the village's management of its finances.

"At this point, I don't see a need for a village (council) because nothing really ever gets accomplished, " she said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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