State Auditors Investigating Second Johnston County Town

Less than two weeks after an anonymous tip prompted state auditors to being reviewing financial records at one Johnston County town, a second tip has prompted investigators to look at another municipality.

The Benson Board of Commissioners held an emergency meeting with representatives from the NC Office of the State Auditor on Friday.  The meeting was held after a complaint was filed relating to the Town of Benson. Specifically what the complaint was has not been disclosed.

Benson Mayor William Massengill Jr.
Benson Mayor William Massengill Jr.

During Friday’s meeting, Mayor William Massengill Jr. said in a prepared statement, “Today, the Benson Board of Commissioners met with staff from the Office of the State Auditor to learn about the process which will be undertaken in regards to an investigation which was prompted by information sent to their internet based tip line. The Town of Benson understands and fully supports the work of the State Auditor to assure that the people’s monies are spent according to law.”

Massengill said, “We are not aware of any impropriety and will cooperate fully with any investigation. We understand that the state auditor has to investigate all complaints and we fully support this transparency and oversight.”

In a member dated Feb. 11th, Town Manager Matt Zapp also said, “The Town of Benson is unaware of any wrongdoing or misuse of public funds.”

On Feb. 2nd, representatives from the state auditor’s office met in closed session with Micro Mayor Jay Warren and members of the Micro Town Board after a similar tip was phoned in about allegations involving town funds in July 2015.  Warren said Micro was fully cooperating with the state probe and added, “Sometimes tips are bogus.”

Bill Holmes, a spokesperson for the NC State Auditor’s Office, told WTSB News on Feb. 5th the agency does release information about ongoing investigations. He would neither confirm nor deny auditors are investigating possible irregularities at the Town of Micro.

“We as a matter of policy do not talk about audits… because we don’t know the results of those until we get to the end,” Holmes said. “If you start talking about what somebody may or may not have done, it may unfairly target the object of those complaints. The way we operate is if we get to the point where we find something that would be considered reportable, under auditing or investigative standards, then we would be happy to talk about the report.”