by Ed Naile
Well it appears the Windsor NH Selectmen and what is left of the Tax Collector’s Office have been audited into the proverbial corner – a nasty little corner ending in two cliffs.
The attempt to have a local gal (consultant) “audit” one year of the town books after citizens, with a little help from The Coalition of NH Taxpayers, escorted the governing body and their now hard to find attorney to Superior Court in Manchester – several times, has been superseded by a real audit by Melanson Heath and Co., Auditing.
Here is what it looks like to me:
– The 2007 Tax Collector’s Report, missing from the Town Report, ended with $342,573.00 in receivables (It may pay to mention that when our “coalition” in Windsor won a second Right to Know case in March 2007 about $150,000.00 in taxes suddenly showed up in the Town mailbox.)
– Some $77,000.00 of this $342,573.00 figure stretch back to the year 2000 for some people – mostly the same people. It is called the “Friends and Family Program.”
Here are some auditor comments (my highlighting):
– Several payments applied by the Consultant, based on the Tax Collector’s records, could not be verified to bank deposits;
– A few individual payments were applied to multiple property tax accounts;
– Payments were applied to the incorrect year;
– Interest was not consistently applied to accounts where payments were made on past due amounts;
– Property tax amounts assessed in the original commitment were sometimes manually adjusted in the Tax Collector’s books;
– Principal amounts due per the Tax Collector’s books were not carried forward to detailed receivable lists;
Rather kind of the Auditors to lay it out in such dry terms, I’d say. They do suggest the audit be turned over to law enforcement.
It is notable that the audit shows some familiar names behind in taxes going back to the year 2000, the year when before which all of the Town’s previous financial records have allegedly disappeared. So it is safe to assume this pattern goes back to around 1986 when the NH Department of Revenue first wrote to Windsor about shoddy bookkeeping. (But unfortunately those pre-2000 records are lost. Or ARE they? Who knows, they may show up in court.)
Maybe you have seen news articles about Windsor in the Union Leader. You may have seen a Windsor official slam a door in the face of a Channel 9 Reporter or jump in a car and drive off in huff when confronted with a microphone. Well this is the stage in this ugly little play at which we have arrived, I call it Masterabaters II.
The original Masterabaters, the Director’s Edition uncut, was when the Governing Body of Windsor tried to “abate,” (forgive, make go away, or generally hide) all the unpaid taxes of the Friends and Family Program members and start cheating real taxpayers again for another decade or so. That didn’t pan out so well so here we are at Masterabaters II, the sequel.
Next up will be a short documentary film called: Who Gets Throwed Under The Bus?
It starts off with a member of law enforcement having a chat with some “actor” who kinda, sorta, maybe, didn’t actually have authority or a legal obligation to sign all the bothersome forms from the Dept of Revenue stating that the finances of the town are legit. Only two props are necessary for this scene: a pen and a yellow note pad. The “actor” has the best part in the documentary because she doesn’t “star” later on.
At this point I don’t want to give away the thrilling ending to “Who Gets Throwed Under The Bus?” but in the world of deals there is a saying – FIRST COME FIRST SERVE.