SPRINGFIELD, Mo - The Missouri Ethics Commission has just released its findings over complaints against Greene County officials.
There were four complaints filed to the Missouri Ethics Commission against each of the three Greene County Commissioners and the Greene County Sheriff.
The Ethics Commission dismissed complaints each of those county officials after fining the County. Download to read the Ethics Commission findings here.
The complaint alleged the Greene County officials misused taxpayer money to advocate for a half-cent sales tax last November.
Documents regarding the complaint against Sheriff Arnott, and Greene County Commissioners Bob Cirtin and Harold Bengsch say the Ethics Commission found "reasonable grounds" that the county violated a "paid for by" disclosure.
In one instance, push cards stated that they were paid for by the Greene County Sheriffs Office when in fact it was purchased with a check withdrawn from the account of Greene County.
The Commission says that the check should have been withdrawn from the Sheriff's Office.
In the consent order from the Ethics Commission, cases were dismissed against Commissioners Cirtin and Harold Bengsch and Sheriff Jim Arnott. In exchange, the county was fined $100.
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway released a statement saying:
"The decision by the Missouri Ethics Commission shows a violation of state law in Greene County. This action confirms what I have said since these allegations came to light more than four months ago — the information brought forward is credible and concerning. However, the Missouri Ethics Commission's purview is limited and doesn't provide a full accounting of the use or misuse of public resources.
Taxpayers are now left with more unanswered questions and are on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills. The best way to ensure citizens get the answers they deserve is through an independent audit that will account for how public dollars were used and make recommendations that could prevent any future wrongdoing.
I stand ready to provide this audit should Greene County Commissioners now decide to do what is right for taxpayers."
Cirtin tells KOLR10 he's holding a press conference at 1:30 this afternoon to go over the findings. Brea Douglas will be there to bring you details of Cirtin's news conference on KOLR10 news at 5 and 6.
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