WKVI Information Center

Financial Improprieties Found Involving Starke County Taxpayer Money

By: WKVI Information Center
Published: February 7th, 2012

Jennie Carter

The Starke County Commissioners emerged from an Executive Session yesterday to announce financial improprieties involving taxpayer money by Jennie Carter. Carter is the Coalition Coordinator for Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County.

According to County Attorney Martin Lucas, the commissioners came to the conclusion that Carter committed financial improprieties by transferring funds from the Convention and Visitors Board to the Tourism Board.

Commission President Kathy Norem said they have her signature on a letter that she had taken some money inappropriately. The total amount was $7,140.00. It was also reported that she has paid back $6,113.80 of the funds.

She had met with the Tourism Board admitting to taking the funds from one of the accounts, and wanted the opportunity to pay the money back. Debbie Mix, Starke County Chamber Executive Director and Tourism Board member, said the board never voted to (as she said) “sweep the matter under the rug.”

“We didn’t have a discussion until January of this year. It isn’t really something that the Board hesitated on and didn’t take action on because they thought it was just going to blow over. That certainly was not the case at all,” said Mix.

The Starke County Tourism Board is registered with the Secretary of State’s office and is a non-profit organization created on May 1st of 2003.

The county commissioners asked that the entire Tourism Board resign immediately. Commissioner Dan Bridegroom said, “This has been known for months and only came to us because the person didn’t pay all the money back.”

The commissioners said they became involved because Carter serves on various boards that come before them to have monies approved. The Starke County Council then appropriates the funds. The commissioners appointed Carter to the Innkeepers Board and have asked for her removal.

In a motion, the commissioners also asked that Carter turn over Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County financial records, notify other board officers of the situation, and inform the Starke County Prosecutor of the discovered improprieties.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 at 5:06 am and is filed under News, Starke. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

7 Comments on “Financial Improprieties Found Involving Starke County Taxpayer Money”

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  1. 1. From Knox
    February 7th, 2012 at 6:21 am

    This story needs some explanation.

    Carter transferred money from one non-profit to a second non-profit doing similar work. The board of the second non-profit finds out about it in January and in the first week of February the County Commissioners demand the board all resign.

    So why did Carter transfer the money?

    Why can’t the Tourism Board return the money?

    Why are the commissioners asking Carter turn over the financial records of the Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County? Has there been ANY indication that is anything amiss or is the Commissioners on a fishing expedition?

  2. 2. What???
    February 7th, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I agree. This is way to confusing. Did Jenny take the money for herself or for the Tourism Board? Why do we have both of those boards anyhow? Neither of them really do much. If they combined, they probably save money and do more work. This really needs more information.

  3. 3. Hmmmm
    February 7th, 2012 at 6:49 am

    How do I get one of them thare govnment jobs? Very profitable. Go ahead Jenny, take the money and run. Aint nothin going to happen to you in this county.

  4. 4. Moose
    February 7th, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Maybe we need some people in this county that know how to handle money? First the treasurer misplaces 900k or so now this. Time to put some people in place with degrees in accounting.

  5. 5. db
    February 7th, 2012 at 8:15 am

    story is confusing, need more info. the big think i got from this story there are too many boards and too many board members serving on other boards. why is there a Convention and Visitors Board and a Tourism Board, sounds like duplication to me and wasted money. the drug and tobacco free starke county, to me have failed, give the money to the 4 schools (knox, od, njsp, st peters) to promote drug and tobacco free kids, and the management costs could be saved or also given to the schools or youth club.

  6. 6. resident at BL
    February 7th, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I’m confused, is she treasurer of both the Convention and Visitors board and the Tourism board that she could write a check and transfer that money. If not then someone else should be included in this because they were not doing their job either. Please explain!! I agree with the Commissioners everyone on the Tourism board should resign due to trying to sweep it under the rug as Deb Mix was quoted. Isn’t she also on both boards?

  7. 7. Starke Co. Native
    February 7th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    So as a Government Official what I am reading here is we can take loans out when we desire and that is O.K. ??? Pay them back at our own discreation ??? All by signing an IOU. What are you folks thinking !!! Obviously Carter reports to either the Commissoners or to Mix with Starke Co. Tourism ???? So whom is in charge of tracking these monies or where are the checks and balances to release funds from these Departments. It should always take at least 2 forms of validation. This is like handing an open bank account and saying here you go, make sure you get a reciept !! When will we ever learn Local Government Officials ?? Maybe we have this practice in place, if so it has failed miserably for yet a 3rd time within our local Government. Seems their should be more then one person whom would be held accountable if such is the case. Better keep digging and get all the facts folks. God Bless Starke Co.

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