Saunders county attorney says accounting problem fixed

Nebraska State Auditor Mike Foley says the Saunders County Attorney received nearly $5,000 in improper expense payments between 2008 and 2010, mostly for electronics,  so he recommends further investigation of the office's finances.

Foley says Saunders County Attorney Scott Tingelhoff was sometimes reimbursed for returned items and sometimes reimbursed twice for the same items. Tingelhoff told Foley's office the overpayments were the result of poor accounting procedures.

Tingelhoff says he has reimbursed the county and implemented new rules for expense reports. Foley says some of the purchases also appeared to be wasteful. Foley says Tingelhoff spent more than $3,400 on seven flat-screen TVs in 2009.

When the audit was done this March, five of the TVs were still in their boxes and one had been returned.  Tingelhoff says his office has adopted several new procedures to help make sure that duplicate expenses won't be paid and that individuals won't be reimbursed for refunds. Tingelhoff says all expense reports now must be accompanied original receipts instead of copies, and the person preparing the report has to sign them so they can be tracked.

Tingelhoff also defended his purchase of seven flat screen TVs in 2009 with grant money. He acknowledged that one TV was return and most sat in their original boxes for two years. But Tingelhoff says the TVs are now being used to review video evidence in his office and in court.