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Ex-Township trustee must repay $40K for credit card expenses, audit shows

Records show alcohol, food, gift cards purchased with taxpayer money
Posted at 4:17 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 16:17:44-04

DELAWARE COUNTY— State auditors are asking a former township trustee in Delaware County to repay $40,669.50 in credit card expenses that couldn’t be accounted for.

The Indiana State Board of Accounts released the report Monday regarding Ronnette Waitman, the Salem Township trustee from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2018.

As a trustee, Waitman was responsible for all financial processes of the township including making sure certain expenses had proper documentation.

State auditors questioned township credit card transactions for food, holiday décor, alcohol, gift cards and pet supplies, for example.

From January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2017, there were 140 out of 199 (70 percent) credit card transactions totaling $21,063.66 that did not have documentation, auditors said.

From January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, there were 246 out of 273 (90 percent) credit card transactions totaling $32,563.01 that did not have any invoices or other documentation to support these payments.

Auditors also questioned thousands of dollars in gas purchases on the taxpayer dime.

The State Board of Accounts reviewed the fuel invoices and determined 64 charges for fuel were charged to the Trustee's fuel card.

Of the 64 charges, 13 charges were for Township Assistance recipients, which were identified from the Township Assistance purchase order vouchers.

However, the state was unable to identify the remaining 51 charges and the Township nature of business for these purchases

No criminal charges have been filed.

Delaware County prosecutor Eric Hoffman said he received the report Monday.

“I will be in contact with the SBOA, the ISP and the U.S. Attorney’s office to determine if we are going to consider filing charges in state or federal court,” said Hoffman.

The State Board of Accounts requested Waitman reimburse taxpayers $18,743.12 for additional investigation incurred by SBOA.

The audit was forwarded to the Indiana Attorney General’s office which can work to recoup the money for taxpayers.

Call 6 Investigates left a message for Waitman and for the current township trustee.

The Salem Township Board approved an ordinance establishing policy as to the use of the Township's credit and debit cards on July 2, 2018 that stated, "The usage of the Township's credit cards for the payment of services or products that exceed the sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) shall be authorized by the Advisory Board President before the Township's credit and debit cards can be used for the payment.”

However, state auditors found transactions, ranging from $568 to $1,015, from after the ordinance was passed that were not approved by the township board president.

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