According to an audit released last Friday, court clerk Fernessa McConico received a letter from the office of Chief Examiner Ronald Jones, “requesting repayment in the amount of $94,861.72.” The audit also states that McConico failed to appear at a meeting with Jones on Aug. 18.
“The former employee failed to appear and show just cause as to why the amount should not be repaid,” the audit reads. “Therefore, relief was accordingly denied as evidenced by the Order of the Chief Examiner contained in this report.
“The charges remain due and unpaid and, as a result, this report will be certified to the Attorney General for collection.”
The missing money breaks down as follows:
• $31,525.40 in court funds collected and receipted but not deposited.
• $6,305.28 in manual receipts issued to defendants but not deposited.
• $11,822 in fines and court costs assessed but not recorded.
• $15,109.75 in probation payments that could not be traced to court records.
• $5,546.85 in cases improperly closed with amounts due from defendants.
• $7,691.69 in fines assessed by the judge but not recorded.
• $9,450 in monies collected for cash bonds but not deposited into the bank account.
• $7,410.75 in bonds applied incorrectly to case files resulting in shortages in the collection account.
Speaking by phone, Leeds mayor Eric Patterson said McConico had been placed on paid leave several months prior to his administration, and added that she was terminated upon release of the official report.
“All I can really is that she had a fiduciary duty to that amount of money,” he said. “That amount of money was attributable to her and it’s gone.”
Patterson said the findings from the audit are now in the hands of Attorney General Troy King’s office, and if enough evidence exists to file criminal charges, those findings will go to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office.