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Forensic audit is expensive, but it's the right thing to do

July 04, 2012 - Doing the right thing is never easy – and in this case, it's not cheap – so we have to applaud the Oxford Village Council for employing the services of a forensic auditor to find out what happened to the $21,177 in missing property tax payments and police funds.

Granted, we're not exactly thrilled about the village spending $28,500 to have this investigation conducted, but it's definitely a necessary evil.

The taxpayers deserve to know exactly what happened to their money.

They deserve to know where it went and who took it, if indeed it turns out that some unscrupulous individual in the village government – past or present – embezzled these public funds.

They deserve to know if more than the reported $21,177 is missing and why.

Karl Haiser, co-owner of the Ann Arbor-based Michigan Forensic Accounting, Inc., was right when he told the village council, "You're victims. The people in this room are victims and you need to bring closure."

Victims deserve answers. Victims deserve justice. Hopefully, this forensic audit will result in both for village taxpayers, who've suffered through enough scandal and embarrassment for 10 lifetimes.

Sue Bossardet, a resident and former village president, was absolutely right when she told council, "Trust me, you already have a cloud over you and the village already has a cloud over it. You need to get on with this and get it taken care of, so you can move on to business."

That dark cloud has only gotten larger and larger since January 2011 when embezzlement accusations first surfaced in the village.

We're hopeful this forensic audit will help clear the air. We're hopeful it will be the first step in slowly rebuilding village residents' shattered faith in their government.

You can't have trust until there is truth.

Right now, village taxpayers have neither.

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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