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Greig town clerk charged with official misconduct

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GREIG — The Greig town clerk cited in a recent audit has been charged with diverting more than $17,000 in state funds to cover a town account shortfall.

State police investigators on Wednesday charged Clerk/Collector Karin Fayle, 65, Greig Road, with official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor, following completion of a probe conducted in conjunction with the state comptroller’s office. She is to appear in Greig Town Court.

Mrs. Fayle was accused of diverting a $17,364.63 check intended for the Black River Watershed Initiative on July 15, 2011, to cover a shortage in the town’s property tax account.

State comptroller’s officials, in an audit report released in August, determined that the money shift was intended to cover a $16,007 shortage in the town’s tax collection account.

When questioned about the discrepancy by auditors in September 2011, Mrs. Fayle acknowledged the shortage and later reimbursed the town with personal funds for the full amount, the audit report states. The clerk told state officials that the apparent shortfall was probably a result of a combination of factors such as cash errors, incorrect change, misplaced money and payments posted in the computer system without actually being paid, it states.

Mrs. Fayle also told auditors that her daughter, the deputy town clerk, and her granddaughter, who is not a town official, helped collect taxes in 2011. Having a person not appointed by the town do so was improper, the report said.

The audit, which covered 2008 through 2011, additionally found that Mrs. Fayle did not maintain a cash receipts journal to record money collected for licenses and fees or provide financial reports to the board to enable monitoring activity in the Black River Watershed account. It criticized the Town Council for lack of oversight.

Town leaders said they have taken steps to rectify issues raised by the comptroller’s report.

The audit was prompted by a general request for one in 2008 from then-incoming Supervisor Marilyn E. Patterson. While officials at the state comptroller’s office initially said they were too busy, they agreed last year to conduct a risk assessment, then undertook a more extensive review when insufficient funds turned up, she has said.

While declining to speculate on potential wrongdoing in the case, Mrs. Patterson in August acknowledged that the clerk, who last fall ran unopposed for a new two-year term, spent a lot of time last year taking her husband for dialysis treatments. He died in mid-October.

Mrs. Fayle, Mrs. Patterson and town attorney Mark G. Gebo could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Mrs. Fayle is the second official in Lewis County to be charged with official misconduct in just over a week.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Department officials last week additionally charged county Trail Coordinator Robert C. Diehl, 43, of 3611 Gardner Road, with third-degree grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing for allegedly using more than $3,000 worth of county-bought gravel at his town of Martinsburg home. He was suspended without pay after the allegations surfaced during the prior week.

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