Town funds allegedly used for personal purchases
Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017 5:45PM EDT
The small municipality of St. Charles finds itself in the midst of a political controversy.
A pair of local councillors said they have uncovered documents that suggest the town credit card appears to have been used for some personal purchases.
The councilors have accessed documents through a freedom of information request.
Municipal councillor Jackie Lafleur said she’s looking into purchases made on the municipality's credit card, by the former CAO Renee Chaperon.
“How could this have been going on for three years from 2013 and no one has picked up on all these statements that were being paid with no supporting documents?,” said Lafleur.
St. Charles is a rural community, near the west arm of Lake Nipissing, and close to the French River area; about a 45 minute drive from Sudbury.
The records show there are a number of personal purchases made, such as tickets for cirque du soleil.
Council recently agreed to have a forensic audit done by KPMG, to further examine the credit card use.
“Council is responsible and has the obligation to care for the municipal money as if it was their own, not spend it as if it's their own,” said Phil Belanger, a St. Charles municipal councillor.
Meanwhile, mayor Paul Shoppmann told CTV he found out about the issue of questionable purchases in November and admits to signing off on some of them.
“Human error does occur time-to-time,” said Shoppmann. “When documents are presented to myself, or somebody else, they are supposed to have been all vetted by administration and professional staff.”
“There was an invoice or several invoices sent to her and from the information I have at this time is that those invoices were paid in full,” Schoppmann said.
The former CAO at the centre of this issue, Renee Chaperon, now works as a clerk in the southern Ontario township of Springwater.
CTV tried several times to reach her for a comment, but our calls were not returned.