Despite investigation, hundreds of thousands still missing in Augusta Twp

- In Augusta Township a corruption investigation involving township officials and missing money is complete.

One person is being charged but some of the money is still missing. Thanks to shoddy bookkeeping, that money may never be found.

This small rural township near Ypsilanti has been dealing with big money issues for years with hundreds of thousands of dollars missing. And it looks like suspects responsible for taking most of it will get away with it.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone missing in a small rural township near Ypsilanti - and it looks like who ever took it, succeeded. FOX  2 has learned the ledgers were so bad not even the state could trace it back to all who are involved.

"It's been two years and we still don't know how much money we have right now," said Ira Todd, a township board member. 

And according to a confidential email FOX 2 obtained, township officials may never know.

Todd is also a Detroit police detective and initiated an investigation after discovering that $2 million was unaccounted for.

The Michigan State Police and State of Michigan Treasury Department were brought in for the embezzlement probe which included seizing records and hard drives from the township hall and the computer from the home of Township Clerk Cathy Giszczak.

More than a year later, Todd feels the township and taxpayers still don't have the answers they're looking for.

It's a mess, a complete mess," Todd said.

Apparently investigators with the state agree. In that confidential email a Michigan State investigator revealed due to a complete and total lack of accountability, performance of duties and inter-office cooperation - along with incompetence - the funds can't be accounted for.

The ledgers weren't balanced and the method of which the theft was occurring, the investigator says created "the perfect storm" the documents said.

Out of the hundreds of thousands of dollars missing, investigators only found $80,000 was ever deposited and could only trace $10,000 back to the former Deputy Treasurer Brendan Humenik who is expected to be charged with embezzlement by a public official.

Supervisor Pete Hafler believes there are others to blame.

"What are they going to do, you just can't let it go," he said. "The voters voted me in to do a job. I'm trying to do that job with help. If I can't get help from the authorities where does it go?"

The investigation at least by the Michigan State Police is over. According to the email, the township can't afford an enormous forensic audit and they don't have the time or resources to take it any further.
 
Which means the treasurer Lynda Dew and the clerk, Giszczak, who were also the focus of this probe, are apparently off the hook at least for now.

"The bottom line is, the tax payers deserve more than this,” Hafler said. "And the authorities have the power to make it happen."

"There's some problems in both offices," Todd said. "The treasurer's office and the clerk's office. And we still don't have answers from either side."

FOX 2 tried to talk to Giszczak at the meeting and by phone tonight, still waiting to get her response.

The township officials FOX 2 spoke with, say they have requested that the FBI get involved because a ton of money is still missing and it's the taxpayers who will pay for it in the long run.

 

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