Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Auditor Raps `Law-and-Order' Advocate

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Auditor Raps `Law-and-Order' Advocate

Article excerpt

In the Capitol, Ted Smith was known as the law-and-order lobbyist, the state official who lobbied for anti-crime bills sought by prosecutors.

But an audit released Wednesday by State Auditor Margaret Kelly alleges that Smith himself may have broken the law.

Kelly charges that Smith falsified claims for expense reimbursements, used his state credit card to make personal telephone calls and spent thousands of dollars on questionable expenses, such as meals for legislators.

Frank Ybarra, Kelly's spokesman, said that overall, the audit questions the use of "tens of thousands of dollars. It's hard to quantify because the abuses were so widespread."

Smith, who resigned last week as director of the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Neither could his attorney, Sen. Harold Caskey, D-Butler.

Smith had operated the office since its inception in 1981. Caskey sponsored the bill that set up the office. Its $220,000 annual budget came primarily from a fee paid by people convicted of crimes - $10 for misdemeanors and $60 to $75 for felonies.

The office arranged training seminars for prosecutors and lobbied for legislation. Smith was paid about $60,000 a year. During the legislative session, he worked primarily out of Caskey's office.

Kelly's audit says that Smith claimed meal expenses of more than $13,000 in the three years ended last June 30. Smith claimed most of the expenses for group meals involving prosecutors, legislators and their staff members.

But Kelly said Smith submitted false information. For example, she said he:

Used the same receipt three times to claim reimbursement for a $54 meal.

Occasionally claimed expenses in different cities on the same day. For example, he claimed lunch in both Kansas City and Jefferson City on Dec. 27, 1991.

Sometimes altered the restaurant receipt or credit card slip so that a charge incurred on a weekend would appear to be incurred on a weekday. …

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