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Auditor files countersuit against Swansea town council members

The countersuit is in response to councilmembers Michael Luongo, Doris Simmons and former councilmember Barrett Black's lawsuit filed in August 2022.

SWANSEA, S.C. — The auditor hired by the town of Swansea has filed a countersuit against Swansea town council members.

It's the latest development in the financial saga in Swansea that started after an audit found $3,300,000 of town assets unaccounted for.

This latest lawsuit counters one filed by two town council members. 

RELATED: Swansea council members file lawsuit against town

Last month we told you how an audit of the town's 2021 finances found problems with $3,300,000 worth of assets in the town's budget. 

Now, the man who helped prepare that report, John Brown, is suing two councilmembers, Michael Luongo and Doris Simmons, and former councilmember Barrett Black. 

Those three had sued, according to their lawyer, because they say they weren't getting the answers they wanted.

They claimed Brown wouldn't talk to them in person about their concerns about the the town's finances. But in his lawsuit in response to them, Brown's lawyer denies that claim.

Brown said the council members did have the opportunity to have their questions answered in regard to the over $3,300,000 in town assets. 

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

Brown said that council members were asked to submit their questions in writing in advance of the council meeting.

In the countersuit, Brown said that was the same way the town had done things the year before without complaints.  

News 19 reached out to Brown and his lawyer for comment, but they did not get back to us.

In response to this countersuit, Jake Moore, the lawyer for council members Michael Luongo and Doris Simmons, said, "I look forward to talking to Mr. Brown at his deposition, and I believe that everything will come out to be alright. We'll get to the bottom of what happened."

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

The auditor also said that the funds are not missing, as the councilmembers said, but are understated, which is not the same thing.

Brown's lawsuit claims he was libeled and defamed by what the councilmembers said and wants damages. 

Both the plaintiff's and defendant's lawyers confirm that the deposition will be rescheduled for another date that they are currently working to set.  

Originally it was on September 30, 2022.

RELATED: Swansea town leaders ordered to show financial records

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