DeFuniak Springs, Fla. - A Grand Jury poured over the finances and reports in Defuniak Springs and found "a mess" but no criminal wrongdoing.
"We were shocked to learn of the lack of knowledge of government operations by those entrusted with governance," the grand jury report states.
The grand jury found that city leaders did not understand the penalties for failure to submit timely audits and didn't learn that money was being forfeited because the audits were late until 2017 even though the city first started losing money in December of 2015.
The report adds that there was abnormal turnover in key positions, especially the finance director position. Jurors also found that the city kept less money than it should in reserves spent $370,000 in BP settlement money on general operating expenses without a vote from the city council and that city officials ignored good recommendations from two outgoing finance directors.
The report concludes that the city permanently lost about $220,975 in tax revenue because of late audits and spent $368,000 in BP settlement money without a vote from the city council. The grand jury also noted that the city is less than 30 days away from forfeiting additional money because of another late audit.
"All of this has combined to form an environment that is unfair to City residents and to City employees," the report states.
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