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Sheriff’s Deputies, State Comptroller Checking Harvey’s Financial Records

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HARVEY, Ill. (CBS) – Cook County Sheriff’s deputies and state officials have stepped in to make sure the cash-strapped city of Harvey is keeping its books in order, and properly disclosing how it’s spending money.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports deputies, officials with the Illinois State Comptroller’s office, and outside auditors took the unprecedented step of going into Harvey’s city hall to check financial records, and make sure it files overdue audits.

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Cara Smith said Harvey been not filed required annual audits and other financial documents to the comptroller’s office for at least 3 years.

“When we see communities that are very delinquent, it raises concerns both about the use of tax dollars but also the extent to which the citizens of that community are being served,” Smith said. “It’s an important step. We have the cooperation of the mayor, which we’re grateful for.”

Smith said failing to file required financial reports could not be allowed to continue.

“We took an unprecedented step with the comptroller, and an independent accounting firm, of going into Harvey and making clear to them that we’re going to be working with them, with their accounting firm, to ensure that filings are done, and that the taxpayers and the citizens of Harvey are protected from mismanagement,” she said.

The Chicago Tribune reported federal investigators have been looking into a botched $10 million hotel development in Harvey.

The Tribune also raised questions about several other expenses, such as paying $88,000 to a firm with ties to Harvey’s mayor, to provide a new website and run social media. The Tribune investigation found Harvey hasn’t redesigned its website in seven years, and has hundreds of fake followers on its Twitter account – many of which appeared only after the Tribune began asking questions about the firm.

Smith declined comment on the questions raised by the Tribune report.