Jackson County Executive Frank White in hot water over dubious spending

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Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick presents County Executive Frank White with a check for more than $13,000. // Jackson County website

A state audit released Monday reports that Jackson County Executive and Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer Frank White spent $10,209,712 without legislative approval.

White used an “administrative transfer” to purchase items under $10,000. The audit found that White spent a total of $3,733,782 from 2016-2018 by transferring sums below the limit. A review of 45 randomly selected transfers showed 62% were not approved, with a total cost of $557,321.

Among White’s purchases was a truck which caused the county auditor to prepare a memo titled “Where did the money come from to pay for Chief of Staff’s $33,945 vehicle?”

These transfers also allowed for the payment of new carpet for the Finance and Purchasing department in Apr. 2016, which did not require the approval of the County Legislature.

“Jackson County taxpayers deserve to see exactly where every one of their dollars are going, but budgeting practices and the way money was transferred between funds made that difficult,” Auditor Nicole Galloway says in a statement. “The county needs better processes so that citizens can be confident all spending is appropriate and transparent.”

According to KCUR, the audit also found the “county’s financial position was significantly misstated” because the county didn’t accurately estimate the fund balance, revenue, and payments. For example, 2017’s estimated ending balance was $8,459,835, while the actual ending fund balance was $114,341,733.

The county legislature put out a statement, showing support for the auditor’s recommendations. It states that they’re going to continue to take actions to strengthen efforts of county operations and internal controls.

The audit recommends that “the County Legislature work with the County Executive to ensure administrative transfer forms are complete and accurate and are properly signed and/or approved, and transfers are made from/to accounts and object codes that agree to the reason or purpose of the transfer.”

The audit gave the county a “poor” rating during the three-year period for a reason.

Categories: Politics