State Audit: Union Gap court mishandling $350k & breaking state laws

State Audit: Union Gap court mishandling $350k & breaking state laws
UNION GAP -- A report from the state auditors office indicates Union Gap's municipal court is breaking state laws.

Auditors found at least 7 problems with how the court is functioning

Some of the findings indicates no one independently reconciles cash collected to the amount deposited; funds are not deposited daily as required by state law; employees can write checks with little oversight. And the report suggests more employees should have access to accounts that control cash accounts.

City Manager, Chris Jensen, says the court pulls in about $350,000 in revenue for the city. We asked Jensen if he thinks some of that money has been mishandled.

"At this point, as it's indicated in the auditors report, it's difficult to prove whether there is or there isn't and it's not something that the auditor would say one way or another," Jensen said.

The auditors report comes after a year full of problems for the small city, including lawsuits and political turmoil.

Neighbors have mixed opinions about the latest issue.

"What's coming next. What's going to be next. What are we going to lose next. It's a little scary," Laura Lizama said.

"There's a lot of stuff that goes on in this town, in Union Gap, that I don't agree with. But, who am I to say anything," Anthony Chavez said.

Jensen says he's not surprised by the auditors findings. He says state law requires cities like Union Gap to stay out of it's courts finances and personnel matters.

"They are city employees however we don't have the ability to perform certain functions with them because they are protected by General Rule 29, under the responsibility of the judge," Jensen said.

Still, Jensen says the city will investigate the court and everyone who works there.

Reporter: "To someone who's sitting at home, who's worried that taxpayer dollars may have been misused or misspent, what do you guys say?

Jensen: That's why we're going to investigate thoroughly. We're going to be as transparent as we can about it."

We stopped by the municipal court to speak with a judge. Employees tell us they're on vacation until next week.