We are live again this morning from the Leon H. Whitten Courtroom in the Jackson Parish Courthouse at Jonesboro for day two of the civil trial in the matter of the State of Louisiana vs the Town of Jonesboro.
At issue is whether a fiscal administrator will be appointed to oversee the town’s finances, which for years have been in disarray. For four consecutive years, three different independent auditors have been unable to compile an audit because of incomplete bookkeeping.
9:32 AM – Court in session. First witness for defense, Town Clerk Melba Holland.
9:35 AM – Powell-Lexing asking witness about Tonya Wade.
9:37 AM – Holland: Data entered into systems around June 2011.
9:40 AM – Payables and receivables systems in effect for FY 2011-2012.
9:42 AM – Water meter deposits system also set up.
9:45 AM – Holland testifying that customer deposit refunds are current.
9:47 AM – Testimony about various plans, disaster recovery, budget, etc.
9:52 AM – Holland testifies that polices and procedures are in place.
9:54 AM – Holland now testifying about payments for workman’s comp insurance.
10:00 AM – Holland says that about $100 thousand in workman’s comp still in arrears, but that a payment plan to catch up has been agreed to with the state.
10:05 AM – Liability insurance – Holland testifying that town is paying on the unpaid balance.
10:07 AM – Holland testifying that sales tax payments are current to the state.
10:17 AM – Testimony about revenue and expenditures for recent months. Holland says that revenues sufficient to meet expenses.
10:22 AM – unable to hear questions and answers at this time.
10:23 AM – Powell-Lexing: Does town have sufficient revenues to meet expenses. Yes.
10:24 AM – Cross. Wilton asking Holland about latest audit.
10:25 AM – Asking if town still needs accounting help. Holland: May need some from time to time.
10:30 AM – Wilton asking about payment plan to workman’s comp. Holland: working hard to get caught up.
10:33 AM – Redirect – has town made corrections for deficiencies in audits? Yes.
10:36 AM – Recross – Wilton asking if corrections have been made since last Wednesday? Holland: changes were made when auditors first came in.
10:38 AM – Wilton asking about accuracy of latest revenue/expenditures.
10:40 AM – 20 minute recess.
11:01 AM – court back in session. Next witness Jonell Walker, CPA that did latest financial report.
11:05 AM – Powell-Lexing: Anything wrong with using CD savings to spend? Depends upon what used for.
11:11 AM – Walker: began field work on Jonesboro in Jan 2012.
11:14 AM – Asked whether finding issued on revenue/expenditures. Walker: referring to note 16 – going concern.
11:20 AM – Walker: sales tax revenues decreasing, budget tight.
11:23 AM – Powell-Lexing: Do you know TODAY if town can meet obligations? Walker: can’t answer that.
11:24 AM – Cross – Wilton: Reasonably prudent financial manager should not use CD’s to pay current obligations. Walker: correct.
11:27 AM – Asking about 4 consec yrs of disclaimers. Walker: not normal.
11:30 AM – Walker: reasonably certain that town can’t meet obligations.
11:30 AM – Powell-Lexing: What about TODAY? Walker: can’t be certain.
11:31 AM – Mayor Thompson on stand. Questions about when Wade hired.
11:33 AM – Powell-Lexing: has town corrected deficiencies. Yes.
11:35 AM – Thompson: Whenever errors fixed, the line is moved.
11:37 AM – Powell-Lexing: Can workers comp be paid. Yes.
11:38 AM – Do you still have CD’s? about 600 thousand plus.
11:40 AM – Can you pay bills? Yes.
11:41 AM – Asking about Reda Houston. Fired for insubordination. Said that employees were entitled to pay.
11:44 AM – Notable that no one from District Attorney’s office has been in court either today or yesterday.
11:45 AM – Defense rests.
11:46 AM – Written memorandums due Friday, and then ruling thereafter. No closing arguments.