Columbus checks bank accounts after alleged scandal

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  It's a case that has rocked Columbus government- the arrest of former Parks and Recreation Director Tony Adams and Program Specialist Herman Porter.

The duo is accused of setting up a hidden bank account at CB&T Bank, allegedly funneling $200,000 through it over five years, using the city's tax ID number.

In the wake of the alleged scandal that broke in 2010, External auditors in Columbus are now urging leaders to track down all bank accounts that use the city's tax ID code.

In a memo to the mayor and council they say:

"We became aware of the existence of bank accounts which were not authorized by management of the Consolidated Government of Columbus. We recommend contacting all local banks and stipulate all accounts must be authorized by Council."

"What the auditor recommended was that we have a more clear and definitive process for checking with banks for making certain that we get responses about any outlier accounts and seeing whether they have the authorization to be there," said Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

"We hope to close the loophole on any outside bank accounts that the finance department is unaware of," added Columbus Finance Director Pamela Hodge.

All local banks are being asked not to open any accounts under the city's name without getting approval from council first. The city is also training workers how to handle revenue and expenditures.

"We'll have ethics training for our individual employees and department heads so that they understand the financial requirements imposed upon them," the mayor said.

The city's finance director says she's contacted several local banks inquiring about accounts and they haven't gotten back to her.

She says procedures are being put in place to make sure the banks respond to the city.

No one would speak specifically about the Parks and Recreation case Tuesday because it is still pending litigation.

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