Sunday, February 01, 2009

Globe: Hunter made unnecessary payments from wards' accounts

The Joplin Globe's Susan Redden continued her outstanding coverage of the controversy surrounding former Jasper County Public Administrator Rita Hunter this morning.

Ms. Redden reports Mrs. Hunter wrote checks from her wards' accounts to health care agencies sending out money which was not even due:

Probate court records show Hunter paid more than $60,000 from the accounts of five wards — with nearly $35,000 sent to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority from the estate of one ward, and more than $26,000 to the Missouri Medicaid program from the accounts of four other wards.

During the same period, nearly $21,000 was spent in pre-need burial plans for the five wards.

At year’s end, three of the five wards were handed over to the new public administrator with no money in their estates; one had $229 and another, $200.

Hunter did not return calls to Globe messages left questioning the state payments.

Once again, it is time to empanel a grand jury and the county should rethink its decision to have a Joplin accounting firm going over the records of Mrs. Hunter's four-year term. While there is no reason to question the integrity of the company, this case cries out to have someone brought in from the outside to ensure the public has confidence in the results.

As for the most recent revelations, it certainly appears that a part of Mrs. Hunter's actions, in addition to the series of lawsuits against her, may be attributed to a desire to make things as difficult as possible for the woman who beat her in the Republican primary in August, Angie Casavecchia.


Anonymous said...

I agree 100% that the audit should not be done this close to home. Does Jasper County really think any of us will be comfortable with this? Come on Jasper County do the right thing for a change. Give us the confidence that we need.
As far as Rita goes, lock her up and take the keys, she is a sicko scammer who has taken advantage of our most fragile.

Anonymous said...

I think this needs to be carried a step further. Rita ain't bright enough to have done this on her own, so we need to know just what involvement her husband had in this whole mess.