Bowie County Auditor William Tye Explains ‘Missing’ Money: It Was Spent

Bowie County TexasTuesday in Bowie County Commissioners Court, County Judge Sterling Lacy distributed printouts showing fiscal year-to-date reported revenues of $20,177,135.83, reported expenditures of $15,535,377.34, for a balance of $4,641,758.49, and asked why the county only had $1.6million available to pay the bills. Yesterday in Commissioners Court, County Auditor William Tye explained that there was no missing $3million; the county had a deficit of that amount for the fiscal year ending last September 30, and some of this year’s revenues went toward that.

Tye asked for the floor as soon as the meeting started, passing out several documents. He said that because Bowie County uses a modified accrual system of accounting, the county had sufficient cash on hand to pay the bills in September and October (the last month of fiscal year 2012-2013, and the first month of fiscal year 2013-2014, respectively), but bills from the last fiscal year resulted in a deficit of roughly $3million, once all the revenue and expenses were totaled.

Bowie County residents will remember the sizable kerfuffle last fall when former Commissioner Pat McCoy declared that the county was broke, and wouldn’t have money to pay the bills for September or October. County Judge Sterling Lacy (and Tye) said there would be enough funds to cover expenses, and they were right, although they (mostly Lacy) received a great deal of criticism for that position.

I wrote an article about that last fall, entitled “Which is it – ‘In the Hole,’ or ‘Never in Danger of Running Out of Money?'” and included an explanation of the differences in cash and accrual accounting. Interestingly, at that point (early November) Tye said the shortfall was about $1.6million.

Judge Lacy mentioned a question he had received from a reporter recently (not me) about the widely varying numbers from the auditor’s office. Tye said that all his numbers were based on a modified accrual system, and said that the figures he had supplied the Court were usually just projections, and had nothing to do with cash. Commissioner Mike Carter remarked that projections actually are mostly about cash.

Although Tye said Tuesday that his numbers were accurate, and that the Court should talk to County Treasurer Donna Burns if they wanted answers, at least two Commissioners and much of the crowd seemed completely satisfied after Tye’s explanations. Judge Lacy asked Burns if she had anything to add, and she replied that she works hard for the county, and didn’t appreciate the implication of theft or misappropriation. Judge Lacy said no one said the money was missing, which prompted hoots and jeers from much of the audience. Judge Lacy was actually the first to use the word “missing” on Tuesday, so it would seem he mis-spoke in Court Friday. On the other hand, on Tuesday he and the Commissioners were careful not to suggest that the money was gone, just that it was spent or allocated somewhere outside the budget expenses, so a charitable interpretation would be that he was attempting to reassure Burns that she had never been suspected of wrongdoing.

I attempted to talk to Tye after Court, but he said he didn’t have time and asked that I meet him in his office. I waited for him until 4:15, when I had to leave for other obligations. I’ll try again next week when I stop by the courthouse to obtain a copy of the video.

Was the matter resolved yesterday? Lacy’s opponents certainly seemed to think so. Some of the county officials and employees that I spoke with while waiting to see the auditor, however, brought up more questions. For instance – there’s no mention of a $3million deficit anywhere in the county’s Audit of Financial Statements, completed March 31 of this year. Indeed, there was discussion of the need for a forensic audit, but the consensus was that it is unlikely that the Commissioners would authorize the expense.

It certainly seems the county needs a more reliable way of projecting cash flow, and for regular reports of such to the Commissioners (which former Commissioner Pat McCoy requested several months ago). They can make neither useful budgets nor necessary mid-year adjustments if reality and estimations are so far apart.

0 thoughts on “Bowie County Auditor William Tye Explains ‘Missing’ Money: It Was Spent

  1. This is far from over. The State of Texas needs to do a complete investigation, period. There is far too much discrepancy for any person of reason. Where is the District Attorney in all of this? Why isn’t he doing anything?

  2. So, at the Tuesday meeting William Tye said we didn’t have the answers and that the court would have to ask the Treasurer who ” conveniently” wasn’t there. Then at the meeting yesterday, he gets up with all of the answers while she sits there quietly? Something is bad wrong with this picture folks. BAD WRONG!!!

  3. The Carlow Empire in our County government is about to crumble folks. I predict the first one to turn states evidence (blow the whistle on the others) will get immunity from prosecution while the rest will go to prison.

  4. Remember the outside auditors last year found some errors and reported we finished +400,00.00 and now the Auditor says we were short 3 mil. but they carried a 1mil CD over into the next FY. And it was very odd the Auditor said on Tuesday they needed to talk to the treasurer and on Friday he did all the talking, and she said nothing of substance regarding the issue.It was very apparent there still something we are being diverted from.

  5. Guess ya’ll forgot about the $2 million prior period adjustment and the sale of the motor grader which wiped out the deficit. There’s the $3 million.

  6. So if that was the case, why couldn’t Tye answer the question Tuesday? The numbers have changed from one time to the next to the next according to the County Auditor and he obviously didn’t trust the Treasurer to do the explaining yesterday. I predict the Carlow Empire is going down. It’s just a question of who’s going to get immunity and who is going to prison. As predicted earlier this year, it’s going to be an interesting year for Bowie County.

  7. You are correct Eugene. The figures don’t add up. HeHeHe. Just like the 601 Main St building the County which was bought for $375,000 in 1998 under the Carlow administration and yet they charged the citizens well over $2,000,000 in taxes for that building for the next 12 years. When one of them turns State Evidence against the others for immunity, the Carlow Empire will all come crashing down around their ears.
    Another thing: Why does the Texarkana Gazette have Paige Alexander Brock, the wife of James Carlow’s Attorney covering Bowie County? They say they aren’t biased but…

  8. It doesn’t take an accounting degree to figure this one out. All you need is the facts and the ability to do basic math. Once I cost a Texas A&M master degreed CPA’s employer over $20,000 because I proved the CPA wrong. The CPA’s employer told me that his CPA accountant from Texas A&M was above reproach and I told him that NO ONE is above reproach and proceeded to prove him wrong. My business associate at the time and I was paid over $10,000.00 apiece to settle out of court. If we’d have gone to court it would have been for more… Education is great, but honesty and the truth are greater.

  9. Jorge. That’s doesn’t have diddly squat to do with the courthouse. Even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and then.

  10. Having a degree in accounting doesn’t mean you are honest. That was the point. Secondly, I’ve been a manager and or owner of small businesses for most of my adult life. Usually the people who say “I didn’t steal anything” and make a big deal about not being a thief are the very ones who are. That is what the County Treasurer did and William Tye, the County Auditor, said about the “missing” 3 million dollars, “You’ll have to ask the treasurer” and then three days later he’s the one with all of the answers. Something is wrong, BAD WRONG.

  11. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say if you or sterling lacy really thought something was going on that was illegal.. The Texas rangers and whoever else you could get in here to investigate would be here! Let’s face y’all have been looking for something that someone, anyone has done wrong for years now and you have not found anything so sit down and be quiet already!! Dang!

  12. The one thing that most of you are overlooking is that Joe Dyke is in line to take William Tye’s place.

  13. The Texas Rangers and the Texas Attorney General have been contacted. They are waiting for the District Attorney to act. If he doesn’t, I understand the Attorney General will be coming in. Hopefully, before the election this fall.

  14. Jeff Akin, why don’t you let Bowie County go? You lost, move on

  15. I am not in line to work for the County I can assure you. I could not afford a pay cut like that. Why would anyone want to leave a successful private business to work for a failing public governmental entity?

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