Clark County sheriff audit under BCI review

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation confirmed Thursday it is reviewing a 2011 audit involving the Clark County sheriff to see if there is any connection with a new state investigation into an alleged domestic dispute involving the sheriff.

Sheriff Gene Kelly denied any connection between the cases.

“Parties in the current investigation were witnesses in the recently concluded prior investigation. Because these two investigations occurred close in time and with identical parties, BCI is reviewing the prior case to determine whether there is any relevant information,” said Jill DelGreco, spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General’s BCI unit.

Although the state agency is reviewing the audit, DelGreco said it doesn’t mean the domestic dispute case is connected or will be connected.

Kelly, his wife, Sgt. Ralph Underwood and his ex-wife and department employee Pam Underwood were all identified in a sheriff’ office incident report involving an alleged domestic dispute Nov. 5. Kelly confirmed he and Pam Underwood were witnesses in the 2011 audit, but said there is “absolutely no connection” between the two cases.

The sheriff asked BCI to audit his records after an October 2011 audit found $8,300 missing from two accounts in 2010. Although BCI concluded its investigation and didn’t believe any criminal activity occurred with the missing funds, DelGreco said the report couldn’t be released because it remains under review.

A state auditor report found $8,368 was unaccounted for in the sheriff’s web check and conceal-carry programs and Kelly was named responsible for its repayment. The funds were paid in full in February 2012, according to the auditor.

Kelly said he paid back the missing money out of his personal savings account because he is the head of the department. It’s believed the money was misdirected as a result of an accounting error, he said.

The Nov. 5 incident occurred at the Stone Crossing Apartments on Dwight Road in Springfield. No arrests were made and no charges have been filed.

The sergeant who prepared the report wrote in it that Sgt. Underwood called him to report a domestic disturbance. In the report, the sergeant wrote that after arriving, words were exchanged between Underwood and the sheriff, and between the two women.

Because the incident involved public employees, the sheriff asked the prosecutor’s office to investigate. The matter then was turned over to the Ohio Attorney General’s office. DelGreco said BCI agents are investigating if there were any criminal acts were involved in the incident. It could take several weeks before the investigation concludes.