Ohioville Borough has leaked a partial audit they had conducted of work done by their former Secretary/Treasurer.
The Beaver Countian received an unsolicited copy of an audit conducted of Maureen Hapach’s work from an Ohioville Borough Councilperson last week. The Council member asked they not be identified by name. While this publication did not have a prior confidentiality agreement with the Councilperson before receiving the communication, the Beaver Countian has opted to honor the request for anonymity.
Maureen Hapach resigned in April following 12 years of service with the Borough. In a series of exclusive interviews subsequently published by the Beaver Countian, Hapach talked about discovering alleged fraud by the town’s former police chief, about retaliation by borough officials against the officer she went to for help, and about claims of her own mistreatment at the hands of the town’s solicitor.
“As a member of ohioville council, we have taken alot of grief about some of the recent events that have happened in the boro, [sic]” wrote the Councilperson in an email to the Beaver Countian, “i feel it is time to shine some light on the recent article about our former secretary. with in days of her resignation,we began to find letters,e-mails and past due notices from our business accounts,local,state and federal taxes and union contributions,etc. [sic]”
The audit conducted by Cottrill Arbutina & Associates detailed several key findings, including:
– Federal tax payments were past due through 6/30/2013 that resulted in penalties & interest being assessed against the Borough in the amount of $2,154.77
– Payments of Pennsylvania State Withholdings were not made between July 2013 and January 2014
– “In May 2014, Marueen Hapach did not deduct PA state tax or federal withholding from her last few pays. This is in violation of PA & federal laws.”
– PA unemployment tax payments were not made between 10/15/2013 and 3/6/2014. “The Unemployment Office says there is a credit of $174 but [QuickBooks] shows liabilities due.”
– “We verified with Berkheimer Tax Administrator that payments for local taxes deducted from employee’s pays hadn’t been paid since Feb 2012. [QuickBooks] shows payments made in 2013 but they haven’t cleared the bank as of the April 2014 bank stmt.”
– “Some employees didn’t have the correct wage tax resident municipality in [QuickBooks]. Employees will most likely be hearing from Berkheimer stating that they owe local taxes.”
– General fund bank statements were not reconciled since Feb 2014
For her part, Maureen Hapach told the Beaver Countian that Borough Officials are just trying to tarnish her reputation after she spoke out about alleged corruption taking place in the town. “If I was such a bad employee why did a group of Council members beg me to stay when I told them I was leaving,” said Hapach. “I was with the Borough for 12 years and the only problems they found happened after everything with [Chief Ron Lutton] started.”
“The only reason they’re doing this to me now is because I gave an interview to the Beaver Countian after I left and exposed everything that’s been happening to the public,” added Hapach.
While Hapach admitted that some state and federal filings were made late, she said it was because she was overwhelmed by the amount of work that needed done. “I am not trying to make excuses, it is what it is. I knew I was falling behind, I told Council I was falling behind […] They did away with the two people who took care of things for the Water Authority, so I had all of that work dumped on me […] then this stuff with [Chief Ron Lutton] happened and I had to go through years’ worth of timesheets for the District Attorney’s Office […] I was the only one working fulltime, they didn’t make my Clerk fulltime until January of this year.”
Ohioville Borough does not have a manager, and along with being the Secretary and Treasurer, Hapach said she was also left to take care of the daily business of running a town.
“Then they say I didn’t take taxes out of my last few paychecks in May. Well guess what? I was gone in April. Those last few checks were for my unused sick time and vacation time. I didn’t write those checks, I didn’t sign those checks, I wasn’t working for the Borough. The new Treasurer is the one who cut those checks […] They say I broke the law and made it sound like I was stealing because I didn’t take out taxes. Sorry that wasn’t me. […] The new Treasurer didn’t know how to do payroll, they didn’t train her, they just gave it to her and told her to do it when I left.”
Hapach also said some of the problems with local wage taxes weren’t her fault either. “The law changed where the employer had to take wage taxes out for every municipality. We checked everybody’s address and made sure we had the right municipality listed for them, but if an employee moved and didn’t tell us, their old address would still be in the system. We had one officer that moved and didn’t tell us for over a year, he lived in Vanport and moved to Rochester. How is it my fault that he didn’t tell us that he moved?”
Maureen Hapach insisted all accounts were reconciled when she left the Borough. “They say the general fund bank statements weren’t reconciled since February of 2014. Well I was gone in April so that just leaves March that wasn’t reconciled. We hadn’t even gotten the bank statements for that month before I left, so there is no way it could have been reconciled […] It’s just more nonsense they’re putting out there to try to make me look bad.”
The former treasurer also raised questions about the propriety of the audit. “It may be that some taxes were overpaid. But I’m not the one that set up that system, I’m not the one who programmed those rates into [QuickBooks]. We paid Cottrill Arbutina to do that,” said Hapach. “Cottrill Arbutina’s audit is finding some problems caused by [Cottrill Arbutina] and then blaming them on me […] Maybe they should have had somebody else do this audit.”
Maureen Hapach compared the partial audit leaked by Ohioville Borough to a list of alleged departmental policy violations issued against Officer Nevin Beatty, the other Ohioville Borough employee who helped to expose alleged theft by former Chief Ronald Lutton. “They’re out to make us look bad, to dirty us up. But they can say what they want. Ron is the thief, not us. I hope people can see through this.”
Officer Nevin Beatty has been on an indefinite suspension from duty since March 17th. Beatty has state and federal lawsuits pending against Borough Officials alleging he was retaliated against for being a whistleblower.
Former Ohioville Borough Chief Ronald Lutton is currently awaiting a trial scheduled for September on 64 felony counts of forgery.
Ohioville Solicitor Paul Steff has repeatedly refused this publication’s requests for comment related to the Lutton matter or about allegations of retaliation against Borough employees. Steff has failed to return numerous messages left for him over the past year.