UPDATE: Jefferson County Commission to conduct forensic audit of Clerk of Court’s spending

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 9:41 PM EDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) - The Jefferson County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller Kirk Reams faced scrutiny this week after it was discovered Reams wrote two $5,000 checks from his office to the Jefferson County Republican Party.

The incident sparked an animated debate at Thursday night’s Board of Commissions meeting as they addressed the issue.

The meeting tried to address a lot of confusion surrounding the checks written by County Clerks of Court Comptroller Kirk Reams, but left most with unanswered questions.

Reams started off the discussion by apologizing for making the county look poorly, and said the Jefferson County Republican Party has returned his sponsorship money. Still, some residents couldn’t believe it happened in the first place.

“When I saw those expenditures, I was amazed that any public servant would [have] the nerve to go out and give away 10,000 dollars,” said Russ Rothman, Vice Chair of the Jefferson Democratic Executive Committee.

The County Coordinator said the confusion about funding was brought to the board’s attention during a review of vouchers for spending.

“When those vouchers were sent out there was an error made and some checks got into the vouchers system that should have never come to the Board of County Commissioners, because they were actually court expenditures or court funds,” explained Jefferson County Coordinator Parrish Barwick.

Residents still felt the public funds were misused, and even called for extreme action to be taken.

“I think he should be removed from office. The governor has the power to do that, the governor did it to the same individual in 2017, and I think that the board should have made a motion to contact the governor provide him the dossier and ask him to remove the man,” shared one Jefferson County resident.

And because of this pressure from residents and past issues with Comptroller Reams, the board decided to call for an in-depth audit.

“Basically what comes out of the meeting is we’re going to do it, a forensic audit, the clerks is going to do it on his office and we’re actually going to have one done on the County Commissioners in our expenditures as well to make sure everything is consistent and above board,” said Jefferson County Board Chair Stephen Walker.

Some residents were very upset during the meeting about the lack of action and answers they received, but the board is hopeful that the forensic audit can help clear things up.

WCTV asked Comptroller Reams for an interview after the meeting to discuss the expenditures. He responded with “no comment.”

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