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Forensic audit wasted Grafton Township tax dollars, officials say

HUNTLEY – A recently released special audit that found former Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore often exceeded her authority while in office wasted taxpayers’ dollars, current township officials said.

The 11-page forensic audit from Northbrook-based ECS Financial Services concludes that Moore prevented her four rival trustees on the Grafton Board from performing their elected duties by not paying board-approved bills and poorly maintaining the township’s accounts.

But the findings – and the $26,000 officials spent to search for them – are a waste since the audit didn’t reveal any misappropriated dollars, current Supervisor Jim Kearns said.

“The report confirms what we knew all along,” Kearns said. “That we spent a whole bunch of money on lawyers.”

Grafton residents long knew that the issues conveyed in the audit caused the infighting between Moore and the former trustees and the costly lawsuits that nearly bankrupted the township last year, he said.

The board released the special audit during its most recent meeting and forwarded it to the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, although the board doesn’t expect any legal action to follow.

The review also was cut short after voters elected Kearns and three new trustees.

The new-look board last May allowed ECS Financial to complete the report only with the information the company collected up to that point. It cost Grafton $26,000, but the township could have spent another $30,000 for the full audit, officials said.

“It was a complete waste of the taxpayers’ money,” new Trustee Dan Ziller Jr. said. “We put an end to it. Other than some silly bookkeeping mistakes, there was nothing serious.”

The special audit recounts many issues behind the saga between Moore and the former trustees that unfolded in the four years after Moore’s only election victory in 2009.

The audit highlights how Moore didn’t pay the $10,000 retainer to ECS Financial for the review, despite the four trustees approving it in the fall 2012.

Initially refusing, Moore eventually paid the $10,000 in early 2013 after a McHenry County judge ordered her to do so or risk going to jail for 30 days.

Among other findings, ECS Financial discovered that the accounting software used by Moore was installed on two separate computers, with one including current financial information and the other including outdated information.

Auditors questioned why multiple systems would exist, since officials would likely be accessing the software daily.

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