Nova Scotia municipal official expensed visits to Texas strip club
The Canadian Press
First posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 11:48 AM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 11:56 AM EDT
HALIFAX - A forensic audit has found the chief administrative officer of one northeastern Nova Scotia municipality charged $582 for visits to two Texas strip clubs.
The report by the accounting firm Grant Thornton examines credit card and expense claims by staff and councillors in the Municipality of the County of Richmond.
The auditors questioned two nights of visits to adult entertainment clubs in Houston filed by Warren Olsen, the chief administrative officer, which was listed as a “reception/meal.”
They also say alcohol purchases by staff and councillors totalled just under $8,000, while $75,000 in meal and entertainment purchases included liquor.
The audit, released Tuesday, follows on a similar study prepared by Nova Scotia’s ombudsman, though it provides greater detail on the roughly $800,000 in claims.
The auditors say repeatedly that they couldn’t determine the appropriateness of claims due to a lack of documentation, as 440 of 603 transactions weren’t supported by detailed receipts.
The audit says current travel expense policy and employee policies are “unclear regarding acceptable meals and entertainment practices.”
It recommends that meal expenses include a detailed receipt of who attended and the business purpose, as well as a spending limit.
It says a log of actual mileage incurred by councillors should be maintained, and that any expenses incurred for family members during travel be paid personally.
Zach Churchill, the minister of municipal affairs, has said issues with the handling of public funds in Richmond County highlight the need for a more transparent system of posting expenses.
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