The amount of money unilaterally withdrawn from county controlled bank accounts by Beaver County Treasurer Connie Javens and former Financial Administrator Vince LaValle tops $6 million dollars, an ongoing investigation by the Beaver Countian has revealed. The monies were withdrawn to purchase bank checks which were then apparently paid to Friendship Ridge during and after the facility was being acquired by Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services.
The Beaver Countian received withdrawal slips on Thursday from yet another county controlled bank account at PNC Bank showing over a half million dollars in funds had been unilaterally withdrawn by Treasurer Connie Javens. That account is in addition to two other accounts at PNC Bank and still another account at Citizens Bank in which Treasurer Connie Javens, Financial Administrator Vince LaValle, or Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services executive Ephram Lahasky unilaterally withdrew funds.
All totaled the withdrawal slips show more than $6 million dollars had been unilaterally withdrawn from four county accounts. Beaver County Controller David Rossi has said none of the transactions had been recorded in the county’s financial management system.
This publication obtained the latest round of withdrawal slips as the result of a formal Right-To-Know request filed back on December 30th, 2015. It took the county nearly eight weeks to fulfill the request because it was not in possession of the records from the bank before the Beaver Countian sought to compel their production. The Beaver Countian had previously obtained withdrawal slips from other county accounts back on February 8th and January 7th as the result of the same formal Right-To-Know request.
Provisions of Pennsylvania County Code explicitly forbid a County Treasurer from disbursing funds from publicly owned bank accounts until authorization has been made by the Board of Commissioners and the County Controller. Javens and others are currently the subject of a criminal investigation being conducted by the Beaver County District Attorney’s Office. Officials with the Pennsylvania State Police have also been gathering evidence in the case.
Executives with Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services have previously said all of the funds disbursed by the county to Friendship Ridge were rightfully theirs, but have not commented specifically about the various transactions or of the methods in which funds were disbursed. An attorney representing Treasurer Connie Javens has also said all of the funds disbursed to Friendship Ridge were owed to them by the county.
Beaver County Commissioners Sandie Egley and Dan Camp, Chief of Staff Joe Weidner, Controller David Rossi, and Financial Administrator Ricardo Luckow told the Beaver Countian they did not know about Treasurer Connie Javens’ actions involving the PNC accounts until the Beaver Countian filed a formal Right-To-Know request compelling the production of bank records.
None of the county officials that spoke with the Beaver Countian as part of its investigation could explain why the county continued to collect and disburse funds on behalf of Friendship Ridge long after the sale of the facility was finalized in March of 2014.
A preliminary reconciliation of the sale of Friendship Ridge conducted by the Beaver County Controller’s Office now shows taxpayers may still be owed as much as $1.4 million by Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services; the Beaver County Board of Commissioners is currently exploring the possibility of having a forensic audit conducted of the transaction and of county accounts that saw funds unilaterally withdrawn by Treasurer Javens and others.
Treasurer Connie Javens’ dealings with Friendship Ridge and its new owners have been the repeated subject of public controversy, with former Commissioner Joe Spanik previously speaking out about the lucrative contracts several of her family members garnered from the facility.
Both Vince LaValle and Connie Javens have previously said they will not be publicly commenting for the Beaver Countian’s reporting on this matter.
– Investigative Report: Treasurer Javens Withdrew $2.5 Million More From A Second County Account & Held Account Jointly With New Friendship Ridge Owners
– Bank Slips Show $3.4 Million Unilaterally Withdrawn By Financial Administrator LaValle & Treasurer Javens
– Controller: Treasurer Connie Javens Withdrew $275,000 From County Bank Account Without Authorization