Local News

Investigators examine United Way checks to Franklin sheriff's office

Posted February 23, 2011 4:21 p.m. EST
Updated February 23, 2011 7:39 p.m. EST

— The Franklin County finance director has confirmed that part of the state investigation into former sheriff Pat Green is focused on money that was supposed to go toward buying Christmas presents for children.

Green, who has not been charged with any crime, resigned last month a day before the State Bureau of Investigation confirmed it was investigating money missing from the sheriff’s office.

Documents related to the criminal investigation show Green received two checks – one for $5,000 in 2009 and another for $7,000 in 2010 - from the United Way for the Shop with a Cop program. Both checks were cashed and signed by Green and one of his employees.

Records show only a fraction of the money was used for the program.

"We have been told by the sheriff’s office that 26 children were served (in 2010) and each officer was allowed up to $200 for each child. So, one would think that the max expenditure would have been around $5,600," Finance Director Chuck Murray told WRAL News.

"We know United Way gave a check for $7,000 directly to the former sheriff; The county wrote Walmart a check for $2,000 for the program, and the Franklin County Moose Lodge gave $2,500 in cash to the former sheriff. That would total $11,500 received for the program. Receipts we have on hand total $3,546.35," he continued.

The United Way of Franklin County said Wednesday that its procedures were followed correctly.

“Our intent, expectation and hope is that every penny went to those children for Christmas. If it didn't, then a lot of public trust was broken,” Executive Director Kathy Harrelson said in a statement.

A Franklin County judge on Tuesday ordered that nearly 300 pages of e-mails and financial records relating to the investigation be released.

The documents show that more than $100,000 is missing from the sheriff’s office.

Murray said the sheriff told him the money was used for "a huge federal drug investigation that involved a county commissioner and two senators."

The county and the sheriff's office would not speak about the investigation, but District Attorney Sam Currin said he doubts the federal drug investigation exists and, if it did, he would likely know about it.