Ferriday ex-clerks in custody

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 16, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — Two former clerks charged with stealing nearly $118,000 of town money were taken into custody Wednesday.

The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Deputies arrested ex-water clerk Kathy R. Green 36, 127 Warren St., Ferriday, and ex-town clerk Ida W. Tolliver, 54, 27575 Highway 15, Ferriday and charged them with theft and malfeasance in office. Both were being held on $65,000 bond Wednesday and declined to comment on the charges.

The parish’s district attorney’s office filed bills of information early Wednesday so Judge Booth could issue warrants to arrest Green and Tolliver, said Investigator Paul Scott.

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A report released Monday by the Legislative Auditor’s Office said the two clerks admitted to taking $90,947 in cash the town received from July 1998 through February 2000 for utility services and $23,980 received for 1998 property taxes for their use instead of depositing it in the town’s bank accounts.

The report also said Green and Tolliver credited their utility accounts and the account of Green’s sister, Lucille Wells, $2,895 even though the town did not receive the payments.

The Legislative Auditor’s Office now plans to keep a closer eye on Ferriday’s finances – and make sure town officials do the same, an assistant auditor said this week.

&uot;I don’t think we’ll walk away from Ferriday,&uot; said Grover Austin, first assistant legislative auditor. &uot;We want to make sure they’re responsive to our suggestions for improvement.&uot;

Austin said representatives of the Auditor’s Office are examining the town’s 1999 tax records to see if additional funds are missing.

The town has not told the auditor’s office what actions it plans to take to better account for funds in the future. If action is not taken, the auditor’s office could refer the case to the Legislative Auditor’s Advisory Council.

That referral would probably not be made until late June. But the Advisory Council could order the town to take specific steps to prevent missing funds in the future. The Legislature could hold those officials in contempt if those steps are not followed.

Staff writer Emily Whitten contributed to this report.