Former recorder of deeds silent as successor cleans up $2.1M escrow fund
The former York County recorder of deeds remains silent as her successor slowly cleans up an inherited $2.1 million accounting mess.
Laura Shue, who took office last year after then-Recorder of Deeds Randi Reisinger retired, has spent a majority of her tenure trying to fix a decade's worth of accounting errors made regarding an escrow fund.
"I'm just now going through monthly bank accounts and really combing through them," Shue said. "It's just a little at a time."
Earlier this month, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released an audit of the office that found Reisinger didn't document where more than $2 million of taxpayer money came from or where it's supposed to go.
The audit involved records from 2015-17, before Shue took office. Reisinger, who worked in the office for 38 years and was the recorder of deeds for 15 years, didn't respond to multiple inquiries for comment.
“My team traced the problem of the lack of accountability for local and county funds in the account back to 2009,” DePasquale said at news conference. “It is long overdue that this is addressed. ... It is critical that every penny of tax revenue be fully accounted for and readily identifiable at all times.”
The escrow account is meant to hold certain fees — such as real estate transfer fees — that are then distributed to the county, municipalities and school districts.
While $2.1 million wasn't properly accounted for, that isn't the amount that's sitting in the fund. Roughly $2 million of that has already been distributed, but Reisinger never filed monthly reports to document to whom that money was sent.
"The issue in this office was that the account didn't show the $2 million because (Reisinger) didn't have the paperwork that would've showed what went out of the account," Shue said. "It just showed what was brought in."
That left about $101,000 that the office didn't know what to do with. And to Shue's surprise, no one has reached out attempting to claim money they believe to be theirs.
With her recent efforts, $16,000 has been distributed to municipalities and school districts. She estimates the remaining $85,000 belongs to the county.
Shue said she "didn't really want to throw (Reisinger) under the bus" for the accounting errors, but she made it clear Reisinger's avoidable failures put the office in a difficult position.
If she is unable to fully account for the remaining $85,000, she'd most likely have to discuss potential outcomes with the county's treasurer and controller, she added.
DePasquale first discovered the accounting failures in a 2016 audit that covered 2009-2014, but Reisinger and her office “basically thumbed their nose at me” and did nothing to address the issue, the auditor general said at the news conference earlier this month.
The undocumented funds in the escrow fund then totaled $1.7 million.
— Logan Hullinger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.