Rogers County Residents Want Answers After Audits Reveal Missing Money

Monday, April 7th 2014, 1:34 pm
By: News On 6

The Rogers County Commissioners had their first meeting on Monday since the state auditor released an audit that revealed the possible mishandling of millions of tax dollars. Now, many people in the county are demanding answers.

The commissioner at the center of the allegations in the audit is Mike Helm. Many people are wondering if he will resign, if in fact, the allegations are true.

It was standing room only as Rogers County residents packed the County Commissioners meeting. Many wanted answers after two state audits showed problems with the way county officials were handling money.

Rogers County resident, Bill Jones, said, "We the people have the right to hold our elected officials accountable and that's what we're aiming for now."

The audit found a wide range of issues; from questionable spending and fake invoices to violations of state bidding laws.

4/2/2014 Related Story: State Audit Finds Numerous Problems With Rogers County Finances

The state auditor said he doesn't know where $5 million in FEMA money went.

"Five million in the red, don't know where it's at. That's something to look at real hard," Jones said.

Two county commissioners said Mike Helm is responsible for overseeing these projects.

They did not address the audit during the meeting, so afterward we tried to get answers from Commissioner Helm, but he declined to comment.

Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker, said, "He's not been charged with any crimes or been indicted or anything like that. He says that all of the money involved that are discussed in that are all accounted for."

Thacker fears a lot of this may be politically motivated.

"Let's all remember, it is election year, so these things always come up, no matter what it is. If it's not this, it will be something else," Thacker said.

This isn't the first time allegations of this magnitude have been brought against Helm. Last August, a group of citizens filed a petition to investigate several elected officials, including Helm.

Jones and Russell Guilfoyle said the audits validate their petition.

"The auditors have brought that to light. I think the justice system may work slowly, but it's going to work," Guilfoyle said.

"We was told our petition was baseless, pathetic and no merit," Jones said. "It shows that our petition was right on tact with what we've been saying."

I spoke with Commissioner Dan DeLozier. He said they will hold a meeting this week to discuss the audit. A date and time have not yet been set.