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3:40 AM Tue, Feb. 19th

Yavapai County looks into MCC

KINGMAN – The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office is conducting an investigation into allegations that Mohave Community College Governing Board members Sally Eggers-Hero and Dan Hargrove used college credit cards to make about $8,000 in personal purchases during trips on college business.

Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said his office couldn’t conduct an investigation into the allegations because it often offers legal services and opinions to MCC and it would create a conflict of interest.

Smith forwarded documentation of the alleged wrongdoing to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office last month.

A story appearing June 9 in Today’s News Herald stated Charles “Chick” Hastings, Yavapai County Attorney for nearly 20 years and now working part time for the county following his retirement, is conducting a review of the documentation.

A call to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office on Tuesday was not returned.

Bill Ullery’s Manager Review, Inc., reportedly has sent supporting documentation to the FBI, IRS, state Attorney General and state Auditor General.

Manager Review is a 501-C-4 public service corporation whose mission is to investigate public corruption, Ullery said.

“We probably have 1,000 pages of documents of credit card abuse by elected members of the (MCC) board of governors,” Ullery said.

“We’ve retained the services of Eide & Bailly, LLP, which is one of the nation’s top-25 CPA forensic audit and fraud investigation firms. They’ve just completed a 178-page forensic audit and have documented in excess of $8,000 in inappropriate travel expenses. That report is going to the FBI Public Corruption Program Unit in Phoenix later this week.”

Ullery said his firm examined 21 trips between 2000 and 2005 by MCC board members.

The MCC Foundations gives “unrestricted” funds to the college from time to time. Chancellor Thomas Henry could have put them into scholarship accounts but instead chose to place the funds into travel accounts for board members, Ullery said.

“We contend that is illegal and have asked law enforcement authorities to investigate,” Ullery said.

Nobody from the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office has contacted him about its investigation, Hargrove said.

All of the allegations raised by Ullery already have been thoroughly investigated by the state Auditor General’s Office, which cleared MCC of any wrongdoing, Hargrove said.

“You’ve got a group of people in Havasu suing the county and everybody in the world and they come up with stuff like this,” Hargrove said. “It takes away from everything we’re doing.

“I have never gone to any conference at which I did not spend my own money and later got paid by the college for meals. I don’t understand why (Ullery) won’t take the information given him and run with it. This new investigation is a waste of time. He’s been going at it for 2-3 years, and every time he gets knocked down by one group, he takes it to another. He’s now in Yavapai and I guess he’s going to go to every county in the state.”

Eggers-Hero said her credit cards all look alike and she has mistakenly used the MCC card to charge purchases in the past. But she always reimbursed the college for any purchase made on its card.

The Today’s News Herald story stated card purchases at MCC were reimbursed by the college foundation with discretionary funds it donated. Ullery contends those donated funds became public money subject to the same laws governing spending of taxpayer dollars and also constituted income that should have been reported to the IRS. Hargrove said he did report it to the IRS. Eggers-Hero said she is in the process of reporting it.

Ullery has made numerous incorrect assumptions surrounding college operations, Henry said.

One of them is that foundation dollars given to the college are only for college use when in fact they are “unrestricted” funds that can be used for numerous purposes including paying of management costs, Henry said.

“Ullery refuses to accept that the Auditor General found no wrongdoing here,” Henry said.

“He is relentless in his efforts to discredit the character of board members and myself. We know this is driven by the personal relationship he has with some former Havasu campus personnel that lost their jobs as the result of a program review.

“He is committed to getting those people their jobs back and continues to harass, slander and libel good people. He’s not going to quit until somebody finally tells him nothing has been done wrong and even then he’ll continue writing the book the way he wants it.”

Henry added that residents of Lake Havasu that listen to everything Ullery says and take it as fact should investigate Ullery.

“He knows we have trustees coming up for election, and if he can sway the public, he may get control of the board of governors,” Henry said. “He has said the college is making good progress and just wants to clean up the mess at the top.

“I wonder where he thinks our good performance comes from, out of thin air or from past administration.”

Henry concluded by saying the only documentation of alleged wrongdoing at MCC that the Mohave County Attorney’s Office could forward to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office was what Ullery supplied and has no corroboration from any state or federal agency.

The Mohave County Elections Department rejected a 2005 recall effort of Hargrove and Eggers-Hero because recall committee members failed to get enough valid signatures to place the issue on the ballot.