Logan County’s Office of Emergency Management and its former dive team are apparently the subject of a fraud or waste complaint filed with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.
According to a copy of the complaint form, which was forwarded to the DFA’s Office of Internal Audit along with several media outlets, the complainant alleges the dive team spent thousands of tax payer dollars to pay an individual for dive training in the Caribbean although Logan County has no salt bodies of water.
Logan County Judge Ray Gack said he had no knowledge of the accusation and had not met the individual identified on the document.
“I don’t know who that person is,” Gack said. “I think he is a dive team trainer, (current OEM director) Tobi (Miller) was telling me, but she never met him either.”
The complaint also notes there was a different director of the Logan County OEM at the time of the alleged incidents.
The complainant adds there were Logan County Sheriff’s Office personnel and other county employees, and their families, who partook in dive training expeditions.
LCSO Chief Deputy Josh Scott said last week he knew of two LCSO employees during former Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks’ tenure who were associated with the dive team. Scott said one left early in Hicks’ tenure and the other was a part-time deputy who did not stay long.
Scott adds nobody who is currently on the staff of current Sheriff Jason Massey who has been associated with the dive team, and that the dive team has never been under the guidance of the sheriff’s office.
Scott said the LCSO will gladly assist or participate in the investigation if requested.
The complainant, whose name was only listed as Tax Payer, also alleges the OEM paid for “thousands of dollars worth of equipment that can not completely be accounted for.”
According to a DFA website, “The Arkansas Financial Management Guide effective as of Oct. 1, 2004, requires that a thorough investigation be conducted for each alleged incident of fraud. When allegations of fraud are brought to the attention of agency management, these allegations shall be reported to the DFA Office of Internal Audit. The Office of Internal Audit will coordinate the review of the allegations to determine if the allegations are substantiated.”
Gack said the county would cooperate with any investigation.
“We’re audited by the state anyway as the far as the money going in and out,” said Gack.
The county is currently undergoing an audit on 2017 records now, Gack said.