Misuse Of Funds For St. Lawrence County Sound System?

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St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain is asking the state Comptroller's Office for an investigation and audit into the county's use of drug forfeiture funds to buy electronic sound equipment for the legislative chambers.

Rain says former District Attorney Nicole Duve and County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire improperly used nearly $13,000 in drug funds to buy cables and a microphone sound system for county legislators.

St. Hilaire denied Rain's allegations and defended the county's purchase as "entirely appropriate" because the legislative chambers are used as a backup courtroom.

Chief Assistant DA David Haggard says the county officials acted outside the boundaries of the law.

"In this case, it appears that some of those funds -- somewhere between $12,000 and $16,000 --  was used to purchase items on behalf of the county that do not go to support prosecution of penal law offenses," he said.

"To call that a misappropriation of funds is certainly false," St. Hilaire said. "I welcome the controller to come in anytime they want to. They've come in in the past, never found any problems with the way we've conducted business."

Meanwhile, Rain says she intends to convene a grand jury to look into the county's failure to apply for a state grant resulting in the loss of over a half-million dollars used to pay for two victim advocate positions.

Friday, November 28, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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