Ohio: Auditors office plans to reissue last $1.7 million in lost checks

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Auditors office plans to reissue last $1.7 million in lost checks Saturday, February 12, 2000


The Cuyahoga County auditors office, which last month was flooded with angry calls after millions of dollars in checks vanished in the mail, said it will reissue the final batch of 421 checks Monday.

Nobody knows what happened to the missing checks, but everyone who is owed money - about $1.7 million - should be paid starting next week, said Director of Accounting Steven C. Letsky.

"As far as I can tell, everything worked the way its supposed to work. We just dont know what happened to the checks after they left the building," he said.

On Jan. 18, the county auditors office cut 1,500 checks, totaling $6.5 million, to pay a variety of county vendors, from day-care providers to attorneys representing poor clients. The next day, the Postal Service picked up most of the checks, along with other county mail, from the countys mailroom on Ontario St.

At least $2.2 million worth of checks made it safely to the right mailboxes, because they were subsequently cashed, said Mark Daniels, spokesman for Auditor Frank Russo. Among them were 450 checks delivered in-house to county employees that were never reported missing.

But apparently about 650 checks, worth $4.3 million, simply disappeared. County and Postal Service employees scoured their mailrooms, but the checks never turned up.

On Jan. 28, after frantic calls from people still waiting for their money, Russo ordered that 228 of the checks be reissued, primarily to help day-care providers who needed the money to buy diapers and formula and pay their utility bills.

On Monday, the county will put stop-payment orders on the remaining 421 checks and reissue and mail new ones in their place. Under a prior agreement with the county, the bank will waive its customary stop-payment charges, so the orders wont cost the county any money, Daniels said.


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), February 13, 2000

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