An embattled East Texas animal shelter now faces a new accusation of misappropriation of funds. The Humane Society of Northeast Texas in Longview is the target of allegations of possible fraud. Along with overcrowding issues, the shelter now faces allegations of misappropriation of funds.
"This was produced in the discovery in the lawsuit, five pages of single-spaced small font names with figures out beside," says Longview attorney Kelly Heitkamp.
Not simply funds donated , but taxpayer dollars are at issue. Heitkamp says in a discovery suit, a forensic accountant found discrepancies in funds paid out to individuals.
"We have found a series of very questionable transactions. We're talking about $100,000 in a matter of three years. A large amount of money going to a board member who was who was ultimately an employee but at the time wasn't even close to being an employee, she was serving in a different capacity on the board. And this is just from one year," she says.
But the city says they have no evidence of fund abuse from records provided by the shelter.
"We are in a simple contract with the Humane Society; now as part of that contract we do have a stipulation that they will give us financial reports. They were hurting for some donations, but obviously those things don't show any impropriety or anything like that," says city of Longview director of development services Kevin Cummings.
Heitkamp says check records and a long list of payouts were uncovered.
"There was money coming in but it was never traced. We don't know where it went, where it was deposited, don't know who has it. What happened to it?" Heitkamp says.
Bottom line, questions still need answers.
"We work for the public. We're as interested as the public is as far as reports like this go, we'd like to see it investigated and see where it leads, if anywhere," Cummings adds.
"Taxpayers want to know what's going on, I want to know what's going on, why doesn't the city?" says Heitkamp.
The status of the city's contract with the shelter will be brought up later tonight at the regular meeting of Longview's city council.