Breaking News
More () »

Auditor hired by town of Swansea explains $3.3M in assets unaccounted for

In the town council meeting Monday night, dozens gathered to listen to what John Brown, a South Carolina licensed auditor, had to say.

SWANSEA, S.C. — Tensions were high in the Swansea town council chambers Monday night as residents gathered to hear the town's contracted auditor explain more than $3,000,000 unaccounted for in its 2021 budget audit. 

Residents and council members wanted answers.

Over 20 people packed the room in the name of clarity. 

"I hope we just get together and put this behind us and try to do the best we can for Swansea because our kids are watching us," John Zeigler, Swansea resident said.

The meeting left some with more questions, other with answers. 

"If these people are being asked to run this town based upon misinformation, sloppy bookwork, how can they possibly plan for the future, how can they possibly pass a budget, how could they possibly raise water rates, how can they account to the people of the town for what's going on?" Jake Moore, lawyer representing council said.

RELATED: Budget audit shows $3.3M unaccounted for in Swansea

"When there's a dispute between council members of a municipality, that's always unfortunate. It's unfortunate how things played out tonight, but at least the budget got passed and hopefully the town can start moving forward," Joseph Dickey, Town of Swansea lawyer said.

Council did in fact pass the 2022-2023 budget, but it didn't come without some pushback from council member Luongo and council member Simmons.

Yet the matter of the other 2021 budget's audit was the focus. 

"The reason I requested that council present their questions in writing is because in June of 2020 council members Simmons and Luongo filed a cowardly, underhanded and spurious complaint against me to the South Carolina board of accountancy in an attempt to compromise my license. The board saw the action for what it was and dismissed the claim without as much as a hearing," John Brown, auditor said.

Auditor John Brown addressed the $3,300,000 in assets unaccounted for.

"This problem occurred because town accounting personnel did not record an account for fixed assets in the accounting system. When I attempted to test fixed assets by comparing the fiscal year 2020 ending balance to the fiscal year 2021 beginning balance, there were no amounts included in the accounting system for fiscal year 2021," Brown said.

RELATED: Swansea council members file lawsuit against town

Brown tells News 19 he did not receive a detailed fixed asset schedule, so he couldn't determine if some assets were missing or not.

In other words, he blames bad bookkeeping. 

"These items provide a big problem for the town and they need to be fixed. They can be fixed by hiring someone with proper prerequisite accounting knowledge and governmental accounting experience," Brown said.

It's safe to say, all parties still want a resolution.

Swansea town council also revised when they will continue to have their meetings going forward. 

Council members voted to change it to the fourth Monday of every month, meaning their next meeting will be Monday, September 26, 2022.

Before You Leave, Check This Out