(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Attorney Shaw Friedman feels a majority of the county council has joined the circus of a ringleader auditor proven wrong by the state for not paying some of his claims.
A majority of the La Porte County Council voted Monday night to support Stabosz in his auditing of claims submitted by Friedman. The action was in response to a lawsuit Friedman is about to file against Stabosz as an individual.
Friedman claims Stabosz is acting outside his duties by withholding payments on some of his claims after the county commissioners approved them. In writing, Friedman told councilpersons Earl Cunningham, Mike Rosenbaum, Connie Gramarossa, and Terry Garner he was surprised and disappointed they went along with the auditor's nudging for support. Also disappointing to Friedman was their endorsement of Stabosz following his latest insulting response to the Indiana State Board of Accounts, the financial accountability wing for the State of Indiana.
In a letter dated March 15, State Examiner Paul Joyce told Stabosz the auditor under the state law is not assigned the duty of scrutinizing each element of a claim or inquiring into the specifics of a work product. Instead, Joyce explained that the public officer or person receiving the goods and services must review and approve the claim.
In this and a similar case from 2021, the county commissioners argue they are the recipients of the services provided by Friedman since they appoint the county attorney and serve as the executive branch of government.
“If an auditor fails to timely pay claims or unreasonably prevents the payment of claims, and the county incurs interest or penalties as a result, such interest and penalties may become the personal obligation of the auditor,” Joyce said.
Friedman said Stabosz again exhibited arrogance in thinking he knows better than the state-appointed experts in a letter he wrote to the Indiana State Board of Accounts last week. Stabosz accused the state agency of acting like a "nervous-nellie" in stepping away from its responsibility to protect taxpayers. He also held firm on not paying claims he questions from the county attorney even if it takes going to court.
“As you well know, there is no case law on any of these matters. Perhaps it is time to go to court and have it resolved whether or not a County Auditor, in the good faith execution of his duties to root out fraud, has the right to seek documentation from vendors,” Stabosz said.
Friedman also pointed to Stabosz alleging in the letter that he and his attorney, Alan Sirinek, are "notorious for lying about the facts, creating false impressions and playing games of flim-flam." Friedman told the council members it's another example of the "outrageous, unsupported claims against those he disagrees with" from Stabosz since he took office 15 months ago.
“And the four of you endorse this conduct and even vow to use taxpayer dollars to defend him when he is sued personally for conduct that is outside the scope of his official duties and in explicit violation of the directives of the SBOA’s Chief Examiner? Please say it ain’t so,” Friedman claims.
Friedman also said the lawsuit is against Stabosz personally because his actions are outside the scope of his official duties. Friedman claims that the taxpayers shouldn't be punished for the errant actions of the county auditor.
"Our position is the taxpayers shouldn't have to pay to defend him for actions the SBOA says are wrong," Friedman said.