Monday, December 3, 2018

State Auditor issues $673,094 Demand against Estate

State Auditor Shad White issued the following statement.

State Auditor Shad White has issued a civil demand to the estate of the former Chancery Clerk of Wilkinson County, the late Thomas C. Tolliver. The demand states Tolliver exceeded the fee cap for his position and failed to reimburse the county for employee salary expenses.

“Thomas Tolliver’s estate owes the taxpayers of Wilkinson County a sizable amount for money he never should have been paid. My office has a responsibility to demand that money regardless of whether the subject of the demand is deceased,” said White.

Tolliver died on August 21, 2018, and was, at the time, the longest serving chancery clerk currently in office in Mississippi.

In Mississippi, chancery clerks are compensated for work based on the volume of services provided by their office. The clerks collect fees for those services. After paying or reimbursing the county for their employees’ salaries and deducting allowed expenses from the fee account, a chancery clerk may receive annual compensation of up to $90,000 from the fees. Any additional fees received by the clerk must be transferred to the county general fund. An investigation concluded that Tolliver exceeded the maximum allowable compensation for his position and failed to transfer over $160,000 to the county general fund from 2008 to 2016.

Chancery clerks are also required to pay their employees’ salaries from the fees they collect. The investigation into Tolliver revealed that from 2013 to 2018, Wilkinson County—not Tolliver’s fee account—paid Tolliver’s employees’ salaries, and Tolliver failed to reimburse the county over $300,000.

The total demand issued to Tolliver’s estate is $673,094.91 and includes investigative costs and interest.

“The demand issued against the Tolliver estate is the result of years of mishandling money,” said White. “I want to commend our investigators for working quickly and carefully in this case. After we were tipped off about the mishandled money, we needed to conclude this investigation in time for the taxpayers to have a stake in the estate before the estate was closed. Credit goes to our special agents for moving this case to completion in a timely way.”


Anonymous said...

Thank you Shad. We need a lot more like you.

Just Sayin' said...

Wasn't he "entitled" to that money, i.e. kind of like free stuff?

Anonymous said...

I'm going to guess that 80% of the Chancery Clerks and Tax Collectors in this state are crooked as snakes. While the workers in water department drive-thrus steal two thousand bucks, these elected officials are stealing hundreds of thousands. Then they either slip under the radar, commit suicide or die.

Anonymous said...

From 2008 all the way to 2016?? Why was this not caught before now? Sounds like someone was asleep at the wheel for 8 years...

Anonymous said...

So did he pocket the funds withheld for employees? Or did he send all of the excess funds to the county’s general fund (above the $160k he overpaid himself)?

Anonymous said...

Nice work Shad. Kudos to you and your staff. I don't know if Mr. Tolliver was a crook, sloppy in his management, or just unsure of the rules. But regardless the money should be returned.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article by "WLBT 3 On Your Side" about Wilkinson County. Mr. Tolliver is mentioned throughout.

Some very questionable stuff.

Anonymous said...

Good luck getting that money....I bet his estate is rather small...and the cash is gone.

Anonymous said...

The thing is-
He died believing he got away with it.
And he will never know differently.

Anonymous said...

5:21 The reason this was not exposed by the previous Ms.State Auditor is because the last one was too busy Mickey Mousing around.

Anonymous said...

Have two clerks in my extended family (one Chancery & one Circuit; different counties). Both brag about all the grift they take through abuse of the county credit card and questionable expense reimbursements. One (Circuit) took 8 people out for a $1000 dinner at the steakhouse in the Beau Rivage, all on “the county.”

Both also act like the funds that come through their offices are like commissions they are entitled to.

Other than Shad, is there really that little oversight of these clerks?

Greed is Over-Powering said...

Evan Doss - Claiborne County. Robert Taylor - Washington County. Doss was a rapscallion black, first of his race to occupy a county wide elected office. Taylor was chair of the deacons at First Baptist Church, a man of impeccable character and unquestioned honesty. Both got careless and were convicted, thanks to the State Auditor's office during the sixties and seventies.

Anonymous said...

This kind of oversight should be applied intensely to community college administrators who got gigantic, inflated salaries the last few years before their retirement as part of quid pro quo to name a building or street after a retiring board member......these kinds of backroom deals are done all the time, and the board minutes are altered to erase any record of the vote. Perhaps Mr. White can uncover hundreds of millions more in the community college system than the one million he already found.

Anonymous said...

@8:29, turn them in to law enforcement or you are complicit.

Anonymous said...

This will be like trying to get blood out of a turnip. The heirs have likely spent that money long ago, because it is just an extension of government "free stuff." You know, reparations and all.

Anonymous said...

It would actually be very simple to implement a state wide accounting system that would make such graft extremely difficult, if not impossible.

That Mississippi fails to do basic oversight is the reason we keep getting listed as the most corrupt State.

And, 6:16 am is correct. Too many opportunities for misuse of funds exists in the community college system. The Board for Community and Junior Colleges was NOT legislated as an oversight board but rather an " advocacy board". Worse, the junior college presidents immediately reacted to even the meager threat of the Board's creation by creating a foundation to re-establish their tight control.

Anonymous said...

I heard about this guy from a relative who had done some work in Wilkinson County. When Tollivar died, they had him LIE IN STATE in the Wilkinson County courthouse!!! A chancery clerk LIED IN STATE at the county courthouse. What in the world??

Anonymous said...

Thankful we now have a State Auditor who will actually do something!

Gambler53 said...

Tolliver was convicted of voter fraud in the early 1980s but served no jail time and was not required to resign as Chancery Clerk.

Anonymous said...

What about the millions being stolen by City of Canton CMU Commissioners? Alderman appoint the commissioners and then take JOBS from CMU commissioners and are making six figures. What about that Shad White???

Anonymous said...

I’m really impressed with Shad White until someone tells me otherwise. He appears to be somebody who could one day actually be an effective Governor. Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

9:55 - Actually your post reminds me of a president who was awarded a Nobel Prize on his first week in office - Just for being elected. The committee thought he deserved it. And 'nobody told them otherwise'.

Cynical Sam said...

Being a Chancery Clerk is a license to steal.

Anonymous said...

The Hinds County Chancery 2nd floor deed records vault looks like a mini Wal-Mart. Check it out.

Burke said...

There was a time when Chancery Clerks made small fortunes legally. The Legislature took that away from them in a burst of rationality. After that I suppose many of the poor bastards had to start stealing.

Shad is the real deal. I hope he keeps it up as Auditor for a couple of terms before he runs for higher office.

Anonymous said...

At one time, the Chancery Clerk in Madison County wore multiple other hats and was the highest paid elected public official in the State of Mississippi. His gravy train ran off the rails when he committed suicide. I don't recall his estate or family having to pay any money back.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't anyone going to jail?

Anonymous said...

Uh, because he’s dead. You ever tried to send a dead man to jail?

Anonymous said...

@8:06 Uh, the question is: Why aren't any of these embezzlers that White is uncovering going to jail. Yes, this one's dead, but should have been caught a long time ago by the last state auditor.....who was either aware of it, or too dumb to do his job.

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