State Auditor investigates Pelahatchie's possible misappropriati - - Jackson, MS

State Auditor investigates Pelahatchie's possible misappropriation of drug seizure funds

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: City of Pelahatchie Source: City of Pelahatchie
Source: City of Pelahatchie Source: City of Pelahatchie
Source: City of Pelahatchie Source: City of Pelahatchie
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
PELAHATCHIE, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A small Rankin County town is under the State Auditor's microscope. The agency is tracking years of possible misspending in Pelahatchie.

The auditor's office is investigating the misappropriation of drug seizure funds, from hundreds of thousands to possibly millions of dollars.

Two employees in the town's clerk's office are leaving their positions.

After taking office in late June, Mayor Ryshonda Beechem requested an audit by the board of aldermen but was denied.

The mayor said she later refused to sign checks presented to her from drug seizure funds that are only to be used by law enforcement and approved by Pelahatchie Police Chief Kevin Poole.

The funds in question have reportedly been used for the past several years for other expenses, including pay raises. 

In September, Beechem confirmed that she was contacted by the State Auditor's office requesting information about the town's expenditures.

Since the audit began, City Clerk Bettye Massey announced her retirement and Deputy Clerk Ruby Burns submitted her resignation.

Whether their departures are coincidence or related to the investigation, is not known.

"I am fully cooperating to help resolve this matter so we can finally start to move our town forward," said Mayor Beechem. "Currently, I am not at liberty to give any details as this is an ongoing investigation."

The State Auditor's office declined to comment on the pending investigation. The mayor's office confirms that the City Clerk is retiring and the Deputy Clerk is resigning.

A special meeting of the Pelahatchie Mayor and Board of Aldermen was held Friday at 6 p.m to discuss personnel matters and the budget.

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