Former Champaign, Logan County agency director indicted

The former executive director of the defunct Tri County Community Action Inc. has been indicted on multiple charges in connection with the mishandling of the organization’s money.

Denise Birt has been charged with securing writings by deception, theft, falsification, tampering with records and grand theft, according to court documents.

Birt was fired as executive director of the organization in 2014, the Springfield News-Sun previously reported. Tri County offered services like Meals on Wheels, home energy assistance and transportation to Champaign, Logan and Shelby county residents.

Tri County disbanded in October 2014 after an audit by the Ohio Development Services Agency revealed that repeated problems with grant spending weren’t addressed.

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Birt couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

She’s accused of keeping funds for the several grants managed by the organization in one account, Logan County Prosecutor William Goslee said, when the funds should have been kept separate.

When funds began to run low, he said, Birt allegedly borrowed $275,000 illegally from a local bank to continue Tri County’s operations.

“She didn’t put that money in her pocket,” Goslee said, “but she did put that money effectively in the payroll and kept paying herself a salary.”

She also continued to pay the salaries of other employees, he said.

Birt intended to pay back the loan with grant money, he said, but it never came.

One of the charges accuses Birt of being overpaid by about $75,000 over the course of 10 years, Goslee said, because of money from a car lease that was incorrectly added to her salary.

Birt claims she didn’t know about the over payment, Goslee said.

The services offered by Tri County have since been taken over by other local agencies at the time of disbandment.

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