Erie County taxpayers were having a tough day at the links Thursday at Grover Cleveland Golf Course -- and that's before we told them thousands of dollars of their hard-earned money had gone missing from the course.
“It irritates me,” golfer Gloria Lorber said to news of a new audit showing a county employee may be to blame for more than $13,000 in missing funds.
County Comptroller Stefan Mjchajliw said the course superintendent, Robert Shelby, was fired in December after the money went missing from a county vehicle overnight.
“And by the morning, the money was gone,” Mjchajliw said. “I find that incredibly suspicious. This doesn't pass the smell test in any way, shape or form.”
The audit points blame at County Executive Mark Poloncarz but his spokesman said county officials have already taken a mulligan.
“There are new policies in place for safer handling of funds, transmission of funds to depositing and things like that, as well as video systems in place now,” Peter Anderson said. “So new safeguards are in place.”
The missing money -- possibly at the hands of county employees -- was enough to tee off golfer Mary Kim Felgemacher.
“You have a job, and you're working for the county, and you're probably getting good benefits, and maybe even a state pension…and then you think that you can start scraping off the top?” she said. “Is that fair? No."
Lorber said the money could have been put toward restoring the course to its glory days, like when it hosted the 1912 U.S. Open.
“It's a nice laid-out course, it just needs some upkeep,” she said.
Shelby, the golf course supervisor, could not be reached for comment. He lost his county job but has not been charged with any crimes. The Erie County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the matter.