Politics & Government

State audit report says Jackson County sheriff owes county $278,000

Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman
Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman Photo provided

FRANKFORT — The office of Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman had a deficit of $112,889 last year, and Peyman made several major managerial mistakes, a state audit said Thursday.

The audit, conducted by Auditor Adam Edelen, also said the sheriff's office owes the county fiscal court $277,915 in payroll assistance from when he took office in January 2011.

The managerial problems outlined in the audit included $519 for "disallowed expenditures" reportedly for jury meals on days that no jury met, inadequate monitoring of fuel purchases and exceeding salary limits set by the fiscal court.

Peyman, who garnered national attention earlier this year when he said he would not enforce any new federal gun control laws that he considers unconstitutional, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The audit listed Peyman's responses to its findings. He primarily said he has taken action on them.

But Jackson County Judge-Executive William O. Smith said Peyman "has not taken care of anything in my opinion, especially paying what he owes fiscal court."

"I've been in office for 20 years, and this is the worst audit I've ever seen of a county office," Smith said.

Smith said he expects the case to end up in circuit court.

"We have to get our money from the sheriff's office," he said. "It has caused us to get behind in certain areas, like our retirement system."

Smith said the fiscal court took over control of the sheriff's office last October. "He has no deputies, just a secretary who answers the phone, but not all the time."

Edelen said his office did not audit the sheriff's responses, "and, accordingly, we express no opinion on them."

One of the primary findings in the audit was the $112,889 deficit.

The audit said Peyman failed to maintain accurate receipts and disbursement ledgers.

Peyman said in the audit that the issue will be resolved and that all bank statements and ledgers are current.

Concerning the $519 for jury meals when there was no jury, Peyman said he brought that issue to the attention of the auditor after he learned of a complaint about him.

"I had no knowledge of the spending but will pay the $519," he said.

The audit said Peyman's office "failed to adequately monitor fuel purchases, resulting in questioned costs of $7,636" for 2011.

Peyman said in the audit that he was unaware of any gas going into employees' vehicles unless it was authorized by him in advance.

He acknowledged that he did buy gas for constables to help patrol the county but that "constables are no longer given gas."

Peyman also said he is taking care of exceeding salary limits for his office set by the fiscal court.

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