Mandamus action asks Felasco for bank slips
The bank slips are needed to complete an audit of the treasurer's office.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County Treasurer Gary Felasco can add one more item to his list of legal woes.
County commissioners have filed a mandamus action against Felasco asking that he produce county bank deposit slips from 2004.
Commissioners contend Felasco has refused to give up the documents, and they are needed to complete an audit of the treasurer's office.
Commissioners hired Packer Thomas, a forensic auditing firm, to look at finances in Felasco's office from 2000 to 2004. A previous audit done by Packer Thomas for a three-month period, October through December of 2003, is the basis for criminal charges filed Sept. 7 against Felasco by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office.
What's behind the charges
Felasco is accused of taking more than $40,000 from the treasurer's office for personal use. The attorney general contends that Felasco would pocket cash payments made to his office and substitute mailed checks to balance the books. Those who paid by mail were not credited for their tax payments and their names were sent to the county's tax claim bureau. Felasco, who was director of the tax claim bureau, is accused of then having those people's names deleted from lists of tax delinquents.
He also had his own property removed from tax delinquent lists.
Felasco is expected to go to trial in May.
County commissioners decided to expand their audit of the treasurer's office to include the entire time Felasco was in charge of the tax claim bureau. They fired him as tax claim bureau director after the story that the treasurer had not paid his property taxes broke. Felasco has been the elected treasurer since 1996.
Felasco could not be reached for comment. His mother, Helen Felasco, who works in the treasurer's office, said her son had not received the mandamus complaint and referred all calls to the treasurer's office solicitor Ed Leymarie. Leymarie had also not received the complaint.
The complaint was filed Monday in common pleas court by the commissioners.