Holsclaw fires back after scathing audit - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Holsclaw fires back after scathing audit

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Bobbie Holsclaw Bobbie Holsclaw
Larry Bisig Larry Bisig

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The state auditor says the Jefferson County Clerk is more concerned about her public image than protecting your tax dollars.

That's what State Auditor Adam Edelen had to say about Bobbie Holsclaw Tuesday during an unusual press conference in her office at Metro Hall. The two elected officials have been clashing since Edelen's office released an audit that was critical of Holsclaw's spending and record keeping.

On Tuesday Holsclaw was joined by a personal friend from the private business sector -- advertising executive Larry Bisig -- who served as her public spokesperson.

"Today's discussion is about the county attorney's letter which tells us he has found no wrongdoing," said Bisig, President and CEO of Bisig Impact Group.

Holsclaw answered exactly three questions at Tuesday's press conference.

"I'm ready to move on," Holsclaw said.

The state audit released in August was critical of Holsclaw for operating a non-profit from her office and soliciting charitable donations. Edelen says those dollars were co-mingled with tax dollars.

The money raised by Holsclaw's office supports a voter outreach program and a charity for sick kids.

The audit found no money missing but did allege poor record keeping practices. It also slammed Holsclaw for giving nearly $100,000 in Christmas gifts and bonuses to employees last year.

Despite the criticism, Holsclaw plans to award bonuses this year -- as has been the practice for the past 14 years.

"It's 2 percent," Bisig said.

Holsclaw says Edelen's audit was motivated by politics and are critical of practices that have been in place a long time.

"There has been nothing illegal that has gone on in this office," Holsclaw said. "I'm proud of the accomplishments; his [Edelen's] intentions are what they are."

During a conference call, Edelen had this to say: "Ms. Holsclaw seems more concerned about her public image than she is in heeding my recommendations that seek to protect the taxpayers' money," Edelen said.

He continued: "If Ms. Holsclaw continues to operate a non-profit corporation out of the clerk's office and solicit charitable contributions from the public, our auditors next year will hold these two funds a higher level of accounting standards."

Those new standards could mean such practices will be considered illegal.

That means expenditure Holsclaw made last year for breakfasts, lunches, trophies and retirement parties will be prohibited by law.

But the oddities continue. We spotted Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell in front of Metro Hall and attempted to talk with him about the letter Bisig referred to, but he kept walking.

Edelen says his intentions are clear.

"This has nothing to do with my ambition and everything to do with the fact that the taxpayers ought to be able to expect more," Edelen said.

"I no longer am going to deal with this," Holsclaw said. "I'm moving on to take care of our customers."

The outcome from this standoff may have effects far beyond Louisville. Several government agencies gather donations and have sister non-profit organizations.

If Holsclaw's actions are ruled illegal, officials at other agencies throughout the state worry they could the ability to collect millions of dollars in charitable contributions.

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