No updates in Kennett Township fraud investigation
● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
At the start of the Kennett Board of Supervisors meeting on Nov. 20, board chairman Scudder Stevens told the audience that the two investigations into suspicious transactions on township accounts are continuing, but that there are no updates to report from either the Chester County District Attorney's Office or the independent forensic auditing firm that was hired by the township.
Stevens repeated what he told township residents at the start of an October board meeting that said the township has also been gathering information on the investigation, that will be shared with the general public soon after the DA and forensic auditors complete their reports.
“As you know, we have been directed by the DA to wait for their reports to be completed before we publicly discuss the case, [and] any possible criminal charges and related matters,” he said. “When the DA reports his findings, we will announce the date for our public meeting to be held. We are looking forward to being able to give you a complete explanation of what happened, who was responsible and what is being done to fix it all. This is information that you have been patiently waiting for – and so have we – for many months. Please know that we continue to appreciate your patience.”
Judging from the lack of fresh news shared in Stevens' last few public announcements, there is the perception that the news from the District Attorney's Office and the forensic auditor regarding the progress of these investigation is stalled.
“The District Attorney's Office have constantly been in communication with the township for the past three quarters of a year, and that has continued,” said Kennett Township Police Chief Lydell Nolt. “As we alluded to before, it's a complex scenario and a time-consuming process that has to be worked through, from the aspect of the District Attorney’s office and the office of the forensic accountant. The township is involved in that process and will continue to be.”
Stevens said that the board is very sympathetic to township residents who have waited patiently since May for the investigation to conclude.
“We're all frustrated because we don't have very much information, and from the little bit we can glean, we can't share it, and so we're in exactly the same position,” he said. “We're very sympathetic with members of the township for their patience and understanding as this goes on, because we, as much as you, want to get it out in the open for everybody.”
Nolt said that he does not anticipate any changes in the course of the investigation from the District Attorney's Office, when the newly-elected DA Deb Ryan takes over for current DA Tom Hogan in January.