County goes to AG to get SEOEMS refund

Published 9:36 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ohio’s Attorney General is being asked to take over the county’s efforts to get back more than $300,000 owed to it by the now defunct Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Service district.

In May State Auditor Dave Yost released an audit of the ambulance service that had served Lawrence, Athens and Jackson counties for more than three decades. According to Yost, SEOEMS owes Lawrence County a refund of $301,396.

The audit targeted years 2008, 2009 and 2010, where it was determined that Athens, for that period, had operated in the red with a total deficit of $409,118. Jackson had deficits of $304,482 for 2008 and 2010. However in 2009, Jackson had a surplus of $68,175. That means that Athens and Jackson counties owe SEOEMS $645,425 as well as the refund the district owes Lawrence.

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Lawrence County Commission President Les Boggs had attempted to get the money during a June SEOEMS board meeting. However, his attempt was stopped by a majority of the board.

The commissioners then went to the county prosecutor’s office to see if there was a way the county could get its money.

Now the prosecutor’s office wants the office of Attorney General Mike DeWine to try to recover the county’s money because of what it sees as a conflict of interest,

“The county is going to have to sue SEOEMS for the money,” Assistant Prosecutor Mack Anderson said. “You will have to sue the board members (of SEOEMS) and Les Boggs being a commissioner is one of the board members. We believe it would be a conflict for us since we represent the county commission on a daily basis.”

Anderson will send a letter to DeWine’s office asking his staff to take over the case, along with the SEOEMS audit.

“To me it doesn’t matter as long as the process goes through,” Boggs said. “We are 100 percent committed to getting Lawrence County back the money it deserves.”