City of Parkersburg Special Audit Statement of Facts

Perry & Associates – September 8, 2015

1) The ownership of the Market currently is listed at the Wood County Courthouse as being owned by the City of Parkersburg, although the City of Parkersburg Council voted to Quick Claim deed the property to the City of Parkersburg Municipal Building Commission.

2)  Although the City of Parkersburg Municipal Building Commission did not own the Market they authorized leases.

3) The records of the City of Parkersburg and interviews with the Acting Finance Director, Pam Savage, former Finance Director, Angela Smith, and former Finance Director, Ashley Flowers, confirm the former Mayor was the decision maker as to which account the funds came from to fund the Market projects and purchase a vehicle with Coal Severance funds from the State of West Virginia.

4) Finance Department employees called the Coal Severance Funds “the Mayor’s money”.

5) Without the diligent work of Acting Finance Director Pam Salvage, the total amount of funds used at the Market would not have been known. Note: Perry & Associates were limited by contract to only view the Coal Severance fund records from 7/1/14 to July 22, 2015.

6) None of the Honorable Council members and the former Mayor knew the total amount of funds expended in the Market.

7) The total amount of labor expended by City of Parkersburg employees at the Market cannot be determined or reconstructed due to the City of Parkersburg not utilizing a project tracking system.

8) Former Finance Director, Angela Smith, stated her research showed, while employed as the Finance Director, that the funds from account 002-750-341000 titled Streets Supplies & Materials, could not be used for non-street projects.

9) According to Angela Smith, one of the reasons she resigned as Finance Director in October 2013 was the stress and fear of being directly involved in paying the expenditures to the Market out of a funds designated for “streets”. She also states “she was very uncomfortable with the whole situation”.

10)  Former Finance Director Douglas Life stated expenses to the Street Fund were “Absolutely” not appropriate.

11)  Former Finance Director Douglas Life was asked about his working relationship with Former Finance Director Angela Smith.  Life advised that he worked with her in the Finance Department from July 2009 to January 2012.  When asked if she was ever untruthful or dishonest he responded “Absolutely not”.

12)  Former Finance Director, Ashley Flowers, stated when she asked employees in the Finance Department about using street funds for the Market she was advised of the following:

  1. It is the way it has always been done.
  2. You do not say no to the Mayor.

13)  Former Finance Director, Ashley Flowers, stated she discussed using the “street money” for the Market with former Mayor Newell.  Former Mayor Newell advised her “It makes no difference; soon the State of West Virginia will be taking over the Market”.

14)  Telephone contact with the West Virginia State Auditor’s office by both Acting Finance Director, Pam Salvage, and Perry & Associates were advised that GASB accounting code 002-750-341-000 titled “Streets & Highways”, by the State of West Virginia and named “Department Supplies & Materials”, and “Streets Supplies & Materials” by the City of Parkersburg was to be used for “streets”.

15)  Former Mayor Newell confirmed that funds were expended from “Streets  & Highways”, by the State of West Virginia and named “Department Supplies & Materials”, and “Streets Supplies & Materials” by the City of Parkersburg was to be used for “streets”.  The former Mayor identified expenses that  should not have been expended from this fund.

16)  Former Mayor Newell stated that adjusting entries should have been made moving these expenses to another line item and was “shocked” that former Finance Director and Contractor Doug Life had not made these adjusting entries.

17) Former Finance Director Douglas Life stated that during his 42 to 47 day contractor assignment in March 2015, he did make adjusting entries concerning the City “Flower Garden”, but was never asked by the former Mayor or any other official to review or conduct adjusting entries concerning the “Street Fund”.

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About Callie Lyons

RCNN Publisher and Editor Callie Lyons is an independent journalist and author living in the Mid Ohio Valley. Her first book, Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8, is available at Amazon.com and in hundreds of libraries all over the world. Known as a "warrior for public health", Lyons' environmental investigations have been featured in documentaries, including Good Neighbors - Bad Blood and Toxic Soup, on Swedish National Television and in numbers of television, radio and print media interviews. Her work has appeared on Nova's Whiz Kids and in Mother Jones magazine. More recently, a national audience has come to know her award-winning investigative work through the Environmental Working Group and interviews with leading publications like the Huffington Post. According to Dr. Arlene Blum of UC Berkeley, Lyons' first book provided the inspiration for the Madrid Statement, which documents the scientific consensus regarding the persistence and potential for harm of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances like PFOA and lays out a roadmap to gather needed information and prevent further harm. In 2006, Lyons received the Associated Press of Ohio Award for Best Business Writer. In 2007, Ohio Citizen Action presented Lyons with the Uncovering the Truth Award for her environmental journalism. In 2015, the Marietta 9-12 Project awarded Lyons the Freedom Pin for her commitment to democracy and free press.
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