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State police probing ‘questionable’ financial records at Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in St. Albans Town. File photo by Shaun Robinson/VTDigger

Vermont State Police are investigating “questionable” financial records found earlier this month during a routine audit of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, state officials said.

Adam Silverman, a state police spokesperson, said in an email that State Auditor Doug Hoffer has asked the agency to investigate the sheriff’s department’s finances as well as investigate sheriff-elect John Grismore, who is slated to take office next month.

State police investigated Grismore last year after video released by the sheriff’s office showed him repeatedly kicking a handcuffed man who was in custody. Following that investigation, Grismore was charged with simple assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

The Associated Press first reported news of the latest investigation.

McSoley McCoy & Co., a South Burlington-based firm, was conducting the audit earlier this month when the firm “happened to come across some records that caused them to think twice,” Hoffer said Thursday. The firm reported concerns about those records to Hoffer, who determined that law enforcement should address the issues.

Hoffer declined to provide specific details on the records in question or his concerns. Silverman said no additional information was available Thursday morning, citing an ongoing police investigation.

“If you have records that raise questions about the accuracy or reliability of the data in the financial statements, then you cannot give an opinion about the financial statements. And that’s what (the firm is) doing — it’s an audit of financial statements,” Hoffer said.

State law requires sheriff’s departments to be audited once every two years. Hoffer noted that this is the first time in his decade in office that he referred information from a sheriff’s audit to the police.

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He said the audit has been put on hold while the state police are investigating.

Grismore, who had been the sheriff’s department no. 2, was fired in August 2022 after a video of him kicking the suspect was released. He said in an interview last September that he was hired by the sheriff’s office in 2018 to manage its business operations. By the time he was fired, he said in September, the agency’s “technology was all mine. All the business stuff was all mine.”

John Grismore. Photo courtesy Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

In an email Thursday, Grismore said he had no information about the latest state police investigation because he hasn’t been working at the sheriff’s office since August. During his tenure at the agency, Grismore said Thursday, “a well-respected accounting firm was employed to provide oversight and guidance on accounting transactions.”

After he takes office next month, Grismore continued, “if there is an issue with the financial transactions, I am committed to ensuring that any errors are promptly rectified, and procedures are put in place to ensure that they are not repeated.”

Roger Langevin, the outgoing Franklin County sheriff, did not respond Thursday to a request for comment about the audit or the state police investigation.

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