FULTON, Miss.–Bad bookkeeping is what State Auditor Stacey Pickering says is responsible for the taxpayers being owed a half million dollars by Itawamba County Chancery Clerk Jim Witt. Pickering’s office Monday made a demand for that money to be paid back.
From August 2007 through December 2012, the Itawamba County Chancery Clerk’s office failed to settle funds collected for the redemption of delinquent taxes in a timely manner as required by law, said a news release.
In other words, the money was collected from the taxpayers, but did not go to the county in time.
”This is money that has been misappropriated. It’s not been stolen or embezzled. But, it basically is the result of bad bookkeeping over the years,” said Pickering during a press conference in Tupelo.
He predicted Witt’s political career is over because of the “misappropriation”.
“Some private money was used throughout the process in order to float checks to balance the account. But, it was the result really of just very, very bad bookkeeping,” said Pickering.
He said Witt now has 30 days to pay all the money back, or the auditor’s office will collect some of the money through the chancery clerk’s bond, which is about $300,000, and may get the rest by suing.
“There will not be an arrest at this time in this case. Again, this money has not been stolen. No one has individually gained money [it] was just misappropriated,”
Witt has thus far refused to comment to the media, through advice of his attorney.