MADISON — Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Keith Randolph issued a letter to Boone County Community and Economic Development Corporation Director Kris Mitchell regarding what the letter states as, "unauthorized deposits."
A copy of the letter, dated Aug. 5 obtained by the Coal Valley News states that Randolph is "representing county treasurer Sheriff Randall White regarding the location of certain missing county funds."
The letter states that two bank accounts associated with Mitchell's position have been opened at Premier Bank in Madison with one being in the name of the "development authority" and one in the name of the "development corporation."
After a reference to state code, Randolph goes on to say that, "All money in both accounts are county funds. Such funds, when received by your agency, must be presented to the Sheriff's tax office in a timely manner — preferably the same day received."
Randolph notes in the letter than he has reviewed the matter and found no evidence that the county commission authorized the deposit or transfer of county funds into an account other than that maintained by the Sheriff.
The letter states, "Thus, the transfer or deposit of any funds into those accounts are unauthorized and illegal."
The letter instructs Mitchell to include the date the funds were received by her agency, from whom the funds were received and the purpose of which the funds were received.
The CVN reached out to Mitchell on Friday and she responded to the letter.
"What had happened was I had rent checks and I was holding those rent checks because I was told that the transfer of the account was going to take place," she said. "After two months of waiting, I told my chairman (Commission President Eddie Hendricks) that I couldn't keep holding these checks as business checks expire. Because our commission voted to create the economic authority, my chairman and my treasurer (Carolyn Mullins) told me to set up the accounts I need."
Mitchell set up a development authority account. According to Mitchell, she had approximately $3,300 in rent checks to deposit.
"I asked Eddie what to do with the checks and he told me to deposit them into the development authority account because that's where they'll go anyway. That is what I did. The account was opened with a $50 donation from the nonprofit because you needed something to open the account with."
Mitchell said that she ordered checks for the account and that was the only purchases made.
"I was holding bills to pay with that account," she said."When it didn't happen, I was then sent this letter and I was very taken back by it and I called Eddie immediately. To say Eddie was unhappy is an understatement."
Boone County Commissioner Craig Bratcher thinks that the situation should have been handled in another manner.
"This situation should have been handled better," Bratcher said. "There were a lot of steps that could have been taken before such a letter was ever issued like a phone call to the president (Commission President Eddie Hendricks) and an advisement for what Keith is supposed to be as a our (county) lawyer. He has failed as our lawyer and adviser in my opinion."
An attempt to reach Hendricks for comment on his cell phone was not successful. Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-307-2402.