After Bobby Bowling from the state auditor’s office detailed the findings of the audit of the sheriff’s department during Gene Hollon’s administration Thursday, the fiscal court authorized the judge-executive and county attorney to take appropriate steps to recoup approximately $112,000 in deficits.

Bowling told the magistrates the audit revealed Hollon had accumulated the deficits between 2003 and 2006 and advised that Hollon deposit the necessary personal funds into the official bank account to eliminate the deficit.

“I don’t think I owe this except for the excess sheriff’s salary,” Hollon told the auditors in his response to the audit findings. “The rest was used to run the office.”

The audit revealed procedural issues such as overdraft fees, health insurance premiums paid for employees that had been terminated, duplicate payments, accounting errors in payroll and the purchase of equipment without going through the bidding process as required by law had, led to the deficits.

According to remarks from the auditors who completed the process in Laurel County, disallowed expenditures included: $10,685 for interest on bank notes, $5,619 for credit card expenditures without proper documentation, $7,125 for employer paid health insurance, $2,737 for a storage bill on a forfeited truck and $2,475 in bank charges.

In addition to the deficit of $41,397 from 2006, Bowling noted outstanding deficits from 2003 totaling $11,100, 2004 totaling $39,482, and 2005 totaling 30,237.

The matter was also referred to the fiscal court’s budget committee in an effort to determine what, if any options the county has to recover the funds. The budget committee will meet at 10 a.m. on Dec. 1.

“I would like for all of us to be there to get this worked out,” Magistrate David Westerfield said.

County Attorney Elmer Cunnagin said he has not had the opportunity to review the audit or discuss it with Kuhl so he cannot say what action the county may take. However, he did not rule out a lawsuit.

“That is a possibility,” Cunnagin said.

Officials from the state auditor’s office had previously said the findings had been turned over to the Attorney General’s office noting that the auditor’s only job is .

Shelley Johnson, deputy communications director at the attorney general’s office, said officials are reviewing the audit, and she couldn’t comment further.

Staff writer Dean Manning may be reached at

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