Financial investigation underway into Franklin County Central Dispatch

CHRISTOPHER, IL (KFVS) - Some unpaid bills have raised red flags among the board of directors of Franklin County's Central Dispatch. Now an investigation is underway to answer one question: where'd the money go?

Seven Franklin County towns pay taxes to support Central Dispatch. It's the command center that routes police and fire protection to where it's needed for the towns of Zeigler, Royalton, Christopher, Sesser, Valier, Coello and Buckner. Now an investigation is underway to learn if some funds may have been re-routed.

"We know each month we put enough money in there to cover the bills, so why aren't the bills paid?" said Zeigler Mayor Dennis Mitchell who is among several mayors on the Central Dispatch Board of Directors. "Or shouldn't there be money in the account? If the money is not in the account, where are the funds?"

Those are just a few of the questions Mayor Mitchell and Christopher Mayor Gary Bartolotti are asking. But the more they dig - the more questions they have.

"The red flag came up when I had someone during the Christopher Homecoming Parade come up to me and say one of the dispatchers wanted me to ask you why their health insurance was canceled. I said I have no idea," said Mayor Bartolotti.

The answer: the bill wasn't paid.

"Another red flag popped up when we found a $7000 phone bill, Ameren was $3000, there was vendors that wasn't been paid," said Bartolotti. "We found out taxes hasn't been paid since the fourth quarter of 2008. That's unemployment, Illinois Internal Revenue Service and federal IRS."

Mayor Mitchell says it was the responsibility of the director of Central Dispatch to pay all those bills.

The mayors say they got regular reports from the director that said Central Dispatch was financially sound, but they say those reports may not have been accurate.

"Those reports did not match the bank statements," said Bartolotti.

An auditor is coming in Tuesday to look into the Central Dispatch financial records. If the numbers add up to something suspicious, the mayors say Illinois State Police are prepared to launch a criminal investigation.

At this time the mayors say they're not pointing fingers. They're just fact finding.

Mitchell says the director has resigned.

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