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Treasurer made duplicate payments totaling more than $549,000, Adams County commissioners say

The Adams County commissioners said Treasurer Lisa Culpepper has failed to perform her duties as required by law since taking office in 2019.
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ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — Adams County resorted to litigation in order to gain access to the Treasurer’s Office accounts and ultimately ensure the statutory obligations of the Treasurer’s Office are being met, a spokesperson for the county said in a release.

The county is asking the court to appoint a receiver to perform the functions of the Treasurer’s Office.

The Treasurer’s Office serves as the bank of Adams County and by law, the accounts must be open to inspection. The county and its auditors have been unable to obtain information necessary to review the county’s finances and have exhausted all efforts short of court involvement, the spokesperson said.

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The complaint says Treasurer Lisa Culpepper who was elected in 2018 and took office in 2019 has not reconciled the many bank accounts she manages within the treasurer's transaction software system since at least March 16 of this year.

It says to date "tens of millions of dollars remain unreconciled."

Culpepper is also required to submit monthly reports to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) that includes the amount of taxes collected the preceding month, according to the complaint. However, the complaint says she did not submit any of those reports between January 2019 and July of 2021.

While Culpepper did start submitting them in August of this year, the complaint says the commissioners "doubt the accuracy" since Culpepper has not reconciled her bank statement since March of this year.

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On at least three occasions,  the complaint says, Culpepper made duplicate fund transfers to tax paying jurisdictions and totaling more than $549,000 and in all three instances, the county was made aware when entity that was overpaid contacted the finance department.

In late 2020 the complaint says the commissioners approved an annual audit but in July 2021 the auditors reported in a letter that could not complete their work due to a "lack of cooperation" from the treasurer.

Even though the audit could not be complete, the letter outlined "red flags" including a lack of timeliness between receipt of cash and recording in the system.

Culpepper's current term ends in 2023.

The BOCC released the following statement

“We are unified as a Board that legal action is required to ensure this independently elected office is transparent in the accounting of county taxpayer dollars. 

The Treasurer serves as the bank for Adams County, and by law, these accounts must be open to inspection. To date, the Treasurer has not provided the required reports and has not provided adequate information requested to allow for a standard audit of the office. 

The limited information the Board has been able to gather indicates the Treasurer is not timely or accurate in performing statutory duties, which could negatively impact the county’s bond rating and financial outlook.

Transparency is among the core values in public service and this Board is committed to providing our residents and partner agencies with access to financial records, audit reports, and confidence in good governance.”

9NEWS reached out to Culpepper for comment but have not gotten a response as of this writing.

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