Cases in the news show why we need regular audits of entities spending tax money

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reserved“Coldspring residents near the courthouse square Monday afternoon were surprised to see San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers leading County Judge John Lovett out of the courthouse in handcuffs. Lovett was arrested at around 12:23 p.m. after charges stemming from a July 2017 incident went before the grand jury and Lovett was indicted. “The grand jury returned a true bill for an indictment against John Lovett on the counts of burglary, tampering with an official government instrument and forgery,” said Capers according to the Houston Chronicle.

Also this week we have the report out of Cameron County that a longtime county juvenile jail employee was sentenced to fifty years for stealing fajita meat and reselling it. Gilberto Escamilla was arrested “last year after a driver from Labatt Food Service in Harlingen called the detention center’s kitchen to let employees know their 800-pound delivery of fajitas arrived,” according to the Brownsville Herald. The facility does not serve fajitas to inmates.

According to the paper: “The total value of the fajitas, which were stolen during a nine-year period, was $1,251,578. That figure does not include the brisket, pork chops, sausage and various types of chicken Escamilla also admitted to stealing, court testimony revealed.”

Both stories demonstrate the constant need for checks and balances and audits of government employees and those who receive taxpayer money.

The county judge case demonstrates that anyone, no matter how high on the chain, can engage in bad action. The fajita case shows how lax review is when over a million dollars worth of food can be stolen over almost a decade and no one on the financial or management side noticed.

All of this demonstrates the foolishness of the Abilene city council member, Donna Albus, who opposed having a performance audit of entities that receive Hotel Occupancy Tax funds because she said such was a “put-down” to entities involved.

Comments

  1. Makes one wonder who Ms. Albus feels she needs to cover for.

  2. Bob Thomas says:

    As the lone taxpayer to stand before the council in support of the performance audit with the simple comment, ” Let’s bust open the books ,” I can tell you there were some butt hurt professionals in that chamber. If Ms. Albus , whom has been entrenched in civic cheerleading for nearly four decades is so vehemently opposed to this audit then this audit must be a good thing.

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