Whistleblower contact and resulting investigation to lead to audit of city’s finances
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (April 17, 2019) Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway today announced she will accept a request by the City of Parma in New Madrid County to audit questionable financial activity. The request will come after a complaint to the Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline and an investigation by the Public Corruption and Fraud Division in the State Auditor’s Office.
“When there are allegations of potential fraud or mismanagement, my public corruption team will investigate the concerns. That’s exactly what happened in Parma, where our investigation is going to result in an audit request by the city,” Auditor Galloway said. “Our independent review will take a close look at the finances of the city and determine the facts.”
The State Auditor’s office was contacted through the Whistleblower Hotline about concerns related to the city operations under the mayor. After an investigation, the allegations were found to be credible. The mayor lost reelection earlier this month and a new mayor and city council member were sworn in Tuesday (April 16). Public officials in Parma have requested an audit, and the city will formally make the request at a special meeting on Thursday (April 18).
Overnight, fire officials responded to several fires in the area. This included fires at the home of the former mayor, city hall and the police department. According to local news reports, arson is suspected.
In January, Auditor Galloway directed increased resources towards investigations of fraud and abuse in government in a newly created Public Corruption and Fraud Division (PCFD) within the State Auditor’s Office. This division, which includes dedicated auditors, investigators and attorneys, will be activated to conduct the audit in Parma. The division will work with law enforcement on any potential violations of law discovered in the course of the audit.
Individuals can use the Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline to share information on allegations of improper government activity. Contact the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 800-347-8597. Concerns may also be submitted anonymously online at auditor.mo.gov/hotline.