Audit discovers million dollar mismanagement

A small town in Franklin County has big problems at discovering that the city mismanaged over a million dollars over the course of seven years.

When Jason Ashmore ran to become Sesser’s mayor two years ago he says he did so because the previous administration lacked transparency with the taxpayers.

“They have a right to know where the money is being spent and how it’s being used,” said Jason Ashmore. “That’s why you’re supposed to by law turn in one of these audits every year.”

After an audit that took over a year and a half that took CPA’s to go through all of the files they found that over a million dollars of taxpayer money had been mismanaged and were owed back by the city of Sesser.

“It went to many different things,” said Ashmore. “The biggest thing was the funds weren’t used for what they were set aside to be used for. A lot of it was that the city owned a cafe, ran a cafe, and they spent lots of money through that cafe.”

By leasing out the café, cutting employee reimbursements, and streamlining a number of city processes Ashmore’s office was able to put $250,000 back into the city coffers without shifting the burden to the taxpayers.

“We’re not cutting any services,” said Ashmore. “We’re not raising any taxes. If you just use the money properly you don’t need to do those things. You cut waste and that’s with all levels of government.”

The state has told Mayor Ashmore that no charges against any current or former city officials are pending.

The city was sent a bill for $38,000 from the Illinois Comptroller’s Office, which was later reduced to an $1,800 fine.

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