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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

City's audit finds inconsistencies

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

(Photo)
Tracy Webster
* Former clerk-treasurer connected to fund mismanagement

The state has found some inconsistencies in the City of Brazil's finances.

Recently, the Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBOA) released its audit examination report of the city, which reviewed financial information from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2009.

Included in the report of the audit, which was conducted by SBOA Field Examiner Lynne Spencer, are the total receipts, disbursements and balances of the city's funds (some of which were in the red), along with mismanagement of funds connected to a former employee.

According to the report, former Clerk-Treasurer Tracy Webster is linked to unauthorized vendor payments, plus overpayment of compensation and/or benefits on numerous occasions between May 4, 2007 and Nov. 21, 2008.

Even though the examination was for 2009 financial records, SBOA Deputy State Examiner Paul Joyce told The Brazil Times when negative balances or fund discrepancies are found, the examiners can go back to analyze records from previous years in an attempt to uncover any other instances.

"The findings of the audits are not accusations," Joyce said. "When we examine a particular and a discrepancy is found, we always try to find when it began, which allows us to review previous years."

For the unauthorized payments, the report states, "checks were payable to Tracy L. Webster, under the vendor name TRISTAR," which totaled $4,858.71 between Aug. 13-Nov. 7, 2007. This amount has been requested to be repaid to the City of Brazil.

In addition, the report cites numerous occasions in which Webster overpaid herself, which included a buyout for sick leave, which she was not eligible for, and two occasions when direct deposits for checks issued to her had been marked as reversed in the city's payroll records, but the bank was never notified in either situation.

A separate incident was also mentioned in the report claiming Webster issued a check "payable to MCC (Menard's Check Collections) on August 7, 2007, for $1,130.92 to cover a personal nonsufficient funds check written out of her personal checking account for personal expenses."

However, Webster was not the only individual listed as receiving an overpayment of compensation or benefits.

The report indicates Mayor Ann Bradshaw received $1,000 as a buyout for not accepting the city's health/accident group insurance on Nov. 14, 2007, the same day Webster also received the same amount for the same purpose. In addition, current Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen received an identical amount for the same purpose on Nov. 31, 2008. However, in their capacities as elected officials at the respective time periods, they were not eligible for the buyout, and records showed Webster had also applied for and received the health insurance in 2007. According to the report, both Bradshaw and McQueen have repaid the amounts.

Bradshaw was also mentioned as receiving $2,428 on Oct. 16, 2008, while Webster (who was deputy clerk-treasurer at the time) received $2,306 on Nov. 21, 2008, for which "was thought to be 2007 underpayment of salary." It was later determined they had not been underpaid, and Bradshaw repaid her amount in full on Feb. 5, 2009. The report shows Webster signed a promissory note Aug. 6, 2009, to repay her amount in installments of $100 a month, which were paid in September and October 2009, but none since. It is also mentioned that Webster has filed bankruptcy.

In total, Webster has been instructed to repay a total of $19,550.54, which includes reimbursing the State of Indiana $6,500 for additional audit costs incurred due to the investigation.

The examination report also includes a one-page statement from Webster to the SBOA in reference to its findings. It also states, "Due to an ongoing Indiana State Police investigation of former Clerk-Treasurer, Tracy L. Webster, more charges could be uncovered at a later date."

For the city's financial records from 2009, the report found eight separate areas in which the funds were overdrawn including the General Fund, which began the year $231,290 in the red and finished $409,093 in the hole.

In 2009, the city had a total of $14,582,400 in receipts and $15,110,965 in disbursements across all the governmental, proprietary and fiduciary funds. The year began with a total of $2,868,964 in cash and investments across all the funds, and after the receipts and disbursements, $2,340,399 remained as of Dec. 31, 2009.

In response to the audit's results, Bradshaw told The Brazil Times she was not surprised by the financial findings, but is letting the authorities do their due diligence on the investigation into the mismanagement of funds.

The full SBOA examination report on the City of Brazil's 2009 financial records is available for viewing at www.in.gov/sboa/WebReports/B38407.pdf.


Comments
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I would encourage everyone who is interested in the Financial condition of the city to review the 2007 & 2008 reports for the city of Brazil at the above website. Please review the reports and make an educated decision when it is time for the Primary Election.

-- Posted by mo47834 on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 3:56 PM

Don't just look at those, look even further back too. There weren't even enough records provided for a full audit to be reported in years before then. At least things are back in enough order to where everything can be analyzed and criticized.

-- Posted by axegrinder1313 on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 4:35 PM

Perfect scapegoat and ex employee who hasn't been employed there for several years. I am sure Tracy will have a different story to tell which will put things in a whole different perspective. The current administration is hiding many things and it will come out. Funny how all the past discrepancies and overpayments of the current clerk and mayor went silent last year. It is also my understanding that Tracy wasn't even employed there in 2009 and also the deputy in 08. Where was the clerk when all this misappropriation was supposedly taking place?? Also, doesnt the current clerk pay thousands of dollars to an accountand to handle the responsibilites she was elected to do? And still, terrible audit report. I am sure many readers will be interested to see the other persons side. I smell a rat or should I say rats.

-- Posted by letsgettherealtruth on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 5:36 PM

Letsgettherealtruth-I totally agree with you. Why three years later are we just now hearing about this? Doesn't the city have better things to do then bring up old drama? I think the city officials are corrupted and have no business running Brazil. What makes them qualified? Im curious to see what Tracy has to say. Karen Mcqueen was the City Clerk for the year 2008 wasn't she? So why is the deputy to blame? Obviously she wasn't the only one overpaid. I know it speaks of McQueen and Bradshaw already have paid their amounts but Tracy Webster who has been out of the office for 3 years has not had a chance. I just don't understand how Bradshaw and McQueen's role in this is not an issue. Pray for new officials at the next elections because this is plain ridiculous.

-- Posted by Andy1124 on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 5:52 PM

I for one would like more complete details....The story does say that they went farther back because of more recent descrepancies so that part I understand but the part about the other employees getting overpaid and having paid that back...Under what conditions? Did they pay immediately? a few months later when they found the practice of opting our or buying out sick leave was not appropriate or only after auditors found out years later??

Maybe City council needs to be more suspicious and less trusting that things are being done properly?? Councils and boards are there to double check and assure that all is running properly, not just to rubber stamp what is being done without checking details. That's why they exist. If they don't want to take the time to do this sort of thing, they shouldn't run for the position. It's like the township trustees that think it's neat to be elected but have no intention of doing the menial tasks involved...that's why we are in the situation now of those trustee positions in danger of being eliminated. Not pointing my finger at ALL trustees of course but we've had a few in this county go that route.

Same goes for boards of private companies and on profits. I am of the opinion that the humane society would have so many issues if they checked references and did background checks on people. sure costs time and money up front but well worth it. to prevent later losses. Sounds like a lot of people not doing their job at a lot of levels.

Starts at top....Can't rubber stamp and just be "nice". Gotta challenge decisions and get adequate explanations. Gotta do homework. There is no EASY button no matter what people tell you.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 9:07 AM

Corruption takes root because power takes away the conscience to some degree and then if you have company to abuse the situation it must seem like its not so wrong afterall, I know this , things are not what they appear to be on the surface, some people get by with things because they talk a good game and convince others what a good person they are so in the future if anything surfaces it will put doubt in peoples minds when they hear the reports of wrongdoing, people in Brazil really need to wake up and get motivated about whats the truth and be wary when you can't tell the difference between a used car salesman and a city employee.

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 9:56 AM

I would like to commend the Times for opening this up for discussion. I saw this morning that due to the nature of the report they were not going to open the discussion part; I for one am glad they changed their minds. I think the citizens of Brazil should have a forum in which to discuss these matters. If the Times finds a comment offensive can they not just remove that comment?

That being said, I don't usually agree with Jenny Moore, but I do insomuch as I would like to know the mayors part in this. Did she pay back her part right away because it was an error, or did she pay it back later because she was afraid of being in trouble?

As far as it being a former employee; well audits do not always occur every year and when they are done if there are discrepencies they dig deeper. I wonder if any of this has to do with the Terry Harrison investigation. I'm sure the State Police had to dig into city funds to see if the money he is accused of taking had been accounted for.

-- Posted by lifehasitsmoments on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 10:18 AM

The article lumped the Mayor in with someone accused of wrong doing therefore some people are jumping the gun accusing the Mayor because she was in the same article, insurance buy outs are a sticky situation maybe she didn't know she was not considered to have the same benefits as other city employees who take the buy out and probably, Umbaugh and Associates informed her and she repaid the money when informed of the mistake. This is a completely reasonable assumption, I think its an injustice to automatically jump to a negative conclusion.

-- Posted by Soni on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 11:27 AM

In response the the Mayor helping clean up the city, I'm glad that she did roll up her sleeves and help a fellow citizen.

You want her to continue on as Mayor for another four years, but what about Terry Harrison's situation?

He helped out the community as well by initiating the Shop with a Cop Program, conducted Child Safety Clinics does that mean that he should still be Chief of Police?

-- Posted by mo47834 on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 11:30 AM

If one would check previous audits and add it all up the Mayor has received approximately $6000-7000 over the course of her term that she was required to payback

-- Posted by letsgettherealtruth on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 11:40 AM

What I find so incredibly interesting is how many of these "overpayments" and "misappropriation of funds" are coming to light not only at the city level, but with BTI some years ago.

My advice to local businesses is to hire an outside entity to audit your books every year, if need be, to ensure the people who work for you are on the up and up.

I know the local wage for this type of employment is a joke, but if you aren't making the wage you feel is adequate for the job you do, then either find another job or a different one and stop STEALING from the people of Brazil. Paying it back or not .. it's THEFT. Plain and simple.

Underpayment of wages? Really? I know exactly how much my paycheck is, so if there's a discrepancy, it's dealt with immediately. Give me a break!

-- Posted by Emmes on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 12:26 PM

You all are so quick to jump to conclusions regarding the Mayor. Shame on you all! Did you ever just think for one moment that maybe she doesn't know all the legalities involved in the other offices or all the rules and regulations regarding sick days, etc....you just want to find fault with her any time you can. The story clearly states that there were no criminal finding in regards to the Mayor or Karen McQueen...(sarcastic comment coming next so get ready!) hard to believe for some of you haters isn't it!

Try re-reading the article for some of you who could't comprehend on the first try!

Now, I'm not saying that ANYONE is a perfect speciman of humanness, all I'm saying is my comprehension of this article is that there were NO CRIMINAL FINDS ON BEHALF OF THE MAYOR OR MS. MCQUEEN as you all so ellude to!

Yes, I would like to know also, as Jenny stated, but if you re-read the article my interpretation is that of which there is only one person standing out that looks really guilty to me and that being Ms. Webster. She is the one, according to the fine article in the Brazil Times, that has taken money in some form or fashion and has NOT bothered to re-pay any suspicious payments to herself.

"If one would check previous audits and add it all up the Mayor has received approximately $6000-7000 over the course of her term that she was required to payback

-- Posted by letsgettherealtruth on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 11:40 AM ". You know what......she paid the money back as soon as she was informed that the deeds were not kosher...that more than we can say for Ms. Webster who has to pay back $19,550.54. Oh wait, she filed bankruptcy! Very nice. Just sayin'.....sounds more like Ms. Webster was using the city as her own personnal bailout fund!

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 12:50 PM

My concern for this situation is that no one in this administration had the knowledge that these allocations were not appropriate. Too, if I am not mistaken, two signatures must be on any check that is processed through that office. I would like to know who signed off on these expenditures and ultimately approved them. Moreover, anyone who does not think the mayor should somehow be held responsible, obviously does not understand city government. The mayor is charged with overseeing the day to day operations of the city. While I think that our mayor has done an admirable job, I can't help but to think that the situation with Terry Harrison and now with this, lends a reason to investigate all operations involved. You must start at the top first.

-- Posted by cubbiefan on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 12:58 PM

Isn't it funny how certain people judge before they know the whole truth? As far as the Mayor, sounds like those same kind of people are just trying to make her look worse than it is. Just my opinion. And as they say "everyone's opinion counts." Can't wait for all the story!!

-- Posted by Say it again girl! on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 1:47 PM

Proud of My Country.

I have read the story three times. I still don't see where the mayor and miss McQueen are off the hook for criminal actions. It is still under investigation....

-- Posted by B_b is an idiot !!! on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 1:51 PM

Tracy, or maybe you're going by letsgettherealtruth now, desperation got the best of you. Mistakes happen, but why are you the only one that failed to fix your part when you stopped paying the city back in Nov 2009. It's very clear that you had motivation to take that money. Filing for bankruptcy shortly after the mistake was identified proves that. No one else is to blame, so please quit pointing your finger.

-- Posted by ToFunny on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 2:36 PM

Proud of My Country:

Shame on you for only reading a newspaper article that has been tweeked to favor the Mayor & City Clerk & obvously not reading the State Board of Accounts report. Note on page 12 of the report, the Mayor & City Clerk purchased laptops for personal use with Police Funds & also took out a loan. 3 Questions I have are: Why were they purchasing personal laptops (for personal use)?, Why were they using Police Funds? And Why did they also take out a loan. This money could have been used towards paving a road, etc.

Also note on page 18 a letter from Tracy Webster explaining her side of her issue. Not defending her but sounds like she was made the scapegoat of this article.

Proud of my Country you stated "maybe she doesn't know all the legalities involved in the other offices or all the rules and regulations regarding sick days, etc." You do know Ann Bradshaw was on City Council for years prior to being Mayor. I bet you will find her signature on many of these ordinance, as well as the Employee Handbook. These would be the same ordinances she has violated. Seems hypocritical of Bradshaw to down play her wrong doings when she has been very public about a former Chief of Police's wrong doings. I bet if we actually look at some of these laws we will find she is in violation herself.

-- Posted by AreYourKiddingMe on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 2:54 PM

I am not jumping too any conclusions about the mayor, I am just hoping that the press gives her the opportunity to clarify what some of these inuindos or allegations are.

-- Posted by lifehasitsmoments on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 3:08 PM

Funny thing is...McQueen got fired from her previous job as a social worker. Why? Because she lied about checking on her cases. The cases she claimed to be checking up on were people who had been deceased for months. Sad, but true. Sounds like a person with good character who we want handling the city's finances. Also, a thing to remember is that Karen McQueen took office as clerk in January of 2008, the year that Tracy is being blamed for. Whose signatures were on the checks made out to Ann, Karen, and Tracy? I would say McQueen signed these, not the deputy clerk. Lets rethink this situation.

-- Posted by Andy1124 on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 3:27 PM

Sounds like a lot of nothing. The State Board of Accounts can accuse anyone of anything, but it is necessarily factual. The fact that the mayor and clerk paid back overpayments is important. I am certain that they either did not know the overpayments were not within the law or began questioning them as soon as they occurred. Things were a mess under Tracy's administration. She will probably have to pay for her errors in some way (monetarily or through court-ordered mandates). Things are in much better shape than before, but improvements are still forthcoming.

-- Posted by brazilbooster on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 3:42 PM

I urge all of you to go online and read Tracey's response to this audit. Sounds like she was set up to take the fall for someone else. Shoddy financial practices all in all.

-- Posted by Jolly on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 4:02 PM

Andy1124 - While your opinion is one that is harmful, hurtful, false and slanderous. I'm glad you are enjoying your right to free speech. However, someone needs to make you aware that you are liable for your posts.

-- Posted by UncleSam on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 4:11 PM

Isn't -it-obvious to-us

My comments still stand, Now you can talk about me and give others a rest..you are a hater for sure !

-- Posted by bowling on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 4:14 PM

Set up? A person who would work at a full time job in Terre Haute, 40 hours a week, and not come in to work at Brazil City Hall for months on end and yet still draw a full salary for being Clerk Treasurer at the expense of city tax payers. Gee, I guess she got set up for that too.

-- Posted by Tracy Jones on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 4:14 PM

Whoops somehow got on there twice I apologize to those of you who could tell it was the same article, some probably read it and got two different opinions out of it.

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 5:04 PM

HaHaHaHaHa!! This is like a fictional book, reading all these crazy comments. So can anyone predict how long it's gonna take for Tracy Webster to get ARRESTED??

-- Posted by UncleSam on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 5:16 PM

Ombudsman:

Why does the Mayor need to have her say or give the real story? Please refer to page 17 of the report which states "The contents of this report were discussed on December 15, 2010, with A. Ann Bradshaw, Mayor,and Karen McQueen, Clerk-Treasurer. The officials concurred with our findings." THIS MEANS THEY AGREED. Please actually read the report (not the newspaper article) before posting such silly comments.

-- Posted by AreYourKiddingMe on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 5:23 PM

What the ............. you wanna talk silly comments, start at the top and work your way down thru there, after reading all this slander after what must have been a mistake, as it was corrected on her own , man I'd hate to be guilty of a mistake here these sharks are out for blood.

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 5:59 PM

If this happend in a real work Place thay all would be LET GO!!!! No Reason For All This! the town at this point seems like a joke... Sad, Very sad.

-- Posted by computerdx on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 6:51 PM

Sounds like alot of people on here like Ms. Webster. They should ask the Attorney General for a Re-Due (like we did in Kindergarden, remember)... Now that is starting at the top. Taking around $13,ooo + Ohh. and dont forget the $6,000 in penalties she has for the 2006 audit. HEY.. Whats the running total? Dang there is that silly fine handed down from the AG also. Man. Can we still use IOU's?

-- Posted by UncleSam on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 6:54 PM

Isn't_it_obvious_to_us?

You do realize that there isn't a scandal, right? I'll say this slowly so maybe it can sink in. THE---- STATE--- POLICE---- ARE-------- -------INVESTIGATING------- TRACY----- WEBSTER---- FOR---- THE---- MONEY----- THAT---- MAGICALLY---- ENDED--- UP----- PAYING--- HER----- BILLS----IT----IS------LISTED-------IN-----THE-----AUDIT------REPORT......

-- Posted by UncleSam on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 8:27 PM

I've read this story several times over, and I am totally shocked by all the slanderous comments towards Mayor Bradshaw. I myself think the story was poorly written and also kinda confusing. I'm not here to take sides, just express my opinion. I find it very interesting to see people uphold someone linked to such inconsistencies. I didn't say accused because according to the article, there have been no accusations yet and the investigation is not over. I did however take from the article that Mayor Bradshaw and Mrs. McQueen repaid the overpayments they recieved as soon as they discovered it was not correct. And I don't understand how someone could take from that that they were "stealing". It's actually really disappointing to see so many people jump to conclussions when it seems no one really knows exactly what happened yet. Mrs. Webster knows if she mishandled funds and should own up if she did. I do think that filing bankruptcy during such an investigation was a poor idea on her part because it does make her look guilty. And another thing, at what point did this story become about the Mayor. I do love how people can get thrown off track so easily. Somehow it also became about Terry Harrison too. Mrs. Bradshaw noticed something was not right and contacted the proper authority, just as someone in her position should do. I just wish people would be more respectful towards people and not slander names as I have read in the comments section on this story.

-- Posted by JustSayN on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 8:30 PM

Uncle Sam, one word, ~AWESOME~

-- Posted by Tabby on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 8:39 PM

Wow~ Love how people can say something as low as Andy1124. That comment had nothing to do with the article and I can't understand why you would take it upon yourself to say such a thing about someone. If that was true, then thats something that she has to live with. But it dang sure isn't ur place to post it. Some of the things I've read on this article are just plain dumb. I think that this article should have never been open to comment on because of immature, ridiculous, know-it-alls out there that like to take this opportunity to show the world their low intelligence. Seems to me that the problem is being investigated and taken care of just as it should be. I can tell an election is getting close...............psh

-- Posted by TheShadow on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 8:49 PM

Purchased a laptop with police funds? Huh? Believe everything you read? Why don't you call and ask the Mayor urself. Is that public information too? Was that in the online State Board of Accounts report?

-- Posted by Tabby on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 9:07 PM

also read the report, not the story. The loan for computers with city money for employees for personal use. and the late payments to credit cards which penalties and interest that was paid with city money. late payments and interest, fees are not to be paid out of city money. The person that paid them late is responsible. Miss McQueen......

-- Posted by B_b is an idiot !!! on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 9:17 PM

UncleSam,

You are not the mayor are you? I had some business dealings with her and this was the way she responded to my e-mail.

Never the less, could you please explain to me how anything you wrote in that book you posted above had anything to do with this?

Smuckers Jelly? Rock Star, cats, pyramids, fountains? Are you kidding me? If you don't have a valid point to make why even bring up those parts of the post?

This whole post sounded like a first grader trying to deflect the questions being asked.

Now your only point that was half way intelligent was in regards to the your boss not being responsible for your actions if you robbed a bank. Okay, if your correct and the clerk-treasurer is not responsible for the actions of her office what is she being paid for? It seems she could do the work of her deputy then and save the city some money on a salary and benefits. Maybe that money could be used to at least fix some of the pits called streets! If the clerk-treasurer is not responsible for her employees actions, why does she have the power to fire them? Same goes for the mayor. Oh I remember, the employees serve at the pleasure of the elected official. i think this means they are responsible for the actions of their employees.

Now I will be the first to admit I have not read all of the audit reports. However, in reading the comments something jumped out at me that nobody has disputed. The newspaper aarticle said the mayor had repaid a total of $3,428. Good for her she should have! However, it was stated in comments that she has repaid between $6,000 - $7,000 during her administration. My question is if she has had to repay prior to this why did she continue to accept the checks? Maybe because the heat was on? I know its ok, she paid it back! Wait...didn't Terry Harrison pay it back too?

-- Posted by cdd987 on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 9:39 PM