CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Although the results of a legislative audit of the Chesapeake Volunteer Fire Department were released this week, Kanawha County officials are still waiting for financial records of the department to conduct their own audit.
Results of the legislative audit, released Monday, found that Chesapeake fire officials improperly commingled more than $40,000 in state and other funding and ordered the fire department to pay the state back more than $10,000 in improperly spent state money.
But Kanawha County officials have been wrestling with Chesapeake fire officials since December 2011 to conduct their own audit of the department's finances. Dave Fontalbert, chief financial officer for the Kanawha County Commission, said county officials still have not received all the financial information they requested from the fire department.
"We asked for the information, it was refused, and we haven't had any interaction with them for months," Fontalbert said. "I'm sure it will come up again."
Neither Chesapeake Fire Chief P.J. Johnson nor fire department accountant John Empson immediately returned telephone calls on Tuesday. Larry Kopelman, the department's attorney, said he had not spoken to fire officials about the disputed records in several months.
Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy first asked for an audit of the fire department in December 2011, wanting to sort out the legalities of the department's nonprofit and for-profit entities. The Chesapeake Volunteer Fire Department runs a multimillion-dollar bingo game as a fundraiser, and also operates a communications business.
Fire officials originally agreed to go along with the county-requested audit, but refused to turn over some financial information. They said other information was in the hands of state auditors.