Audit in except for Vines

Published 1:20 am Saturday, September 29, 2007

NATCHEZ — The Adams County audit is on its way to the state auditor in Jackson.

Well, most of it anyway.

The preliminary county audit did not contain Circuit Clerk M.L. “Binkey” Vines’ records.

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Once the audit reaches Jackson the state auditor must review it.

The audit, normally complete in July, was delayed in large part to Vines’ missing records.

When Switzer, Hopkins and Mange CPAs completed the audit on Friday Sept. 28. The firm still had not received Vines’ records.

“(Vines) did not give access to his records,” Dennis Switzer of the accounting firm said.

“We went above and beyond to give him time to submit his records,” he said.

Switzer, Hopkins and Mange, an accounting firm, is contracted by Adams County to do the annual audit of all county offices.

“(Vines) promised he would provide them (the records) and he never did,” Switzer said.

According to County Administrator Cathy Walker, the missing records in question are Vines’ civil, criminal and garnishment journals from 2006. And his fee account journal from 2005 and 2006.

Vines’ bookkeeping practices have been cited in several recent county audits.

He was indicted last year on 13 charges of embezzlement stemming from findings noted in the 2003 and 2004 audits.

Earlier this year, Vines pleaded guilty to three charges in exchange for the state dropping the other 10.

On Friday Vines said the missing records would be hand-delivered to the state auditor’s office on Oct. 2.

But according to Switzer that’s just not good enough.

“Tuesday is too late,” Switzer said.

The absence of Vines’ records skews the entire auditing process he said.

“Our opinion is qualified by a limited scope,” he said.

Other than the missing records Switzer had no concerns about the audit.

“We just report the facts as we find them,” he said.

Walker says the review period will likely take approximately one month once it reaches the state auditor.

The audit will become public record after that.