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Whistleblower hotline sparks audit of finances in City of Center

CENTER, Mo (WGEM) — Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced Wednesday that she will accept a request by the City of Center in Ralls County to audit questionable financial activity.

Galloway’s office states that the request comes after a complaint to the Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline and an investigation by the Public Corruption and Fraud Division in the State Auditor’s Office.

“City officials in Center have requested this audit to get the facts about allegations of potential fraud and mismanagement. That’s exactly what my public corruption team will provide,” Auditor Galloway said. “Our independent audit will take a close look at city finances and operations to get answers for taxpayers.”

The State Auditor’s office was contacted through the Whistleblower Hotline about concerns related to the city finances under the former clerk. City officials formally requested an audit on July 3. Investigators with the Auditor’s Public Corruption and Fraud Division conducted an investigation and found those concerns to be credible.

An audit team will soon formally meet with the city to officially launch the audit. Auditors will then begin field work in Center.

WGEM News learned Wednesday afternoon that Center’s City Clerk Tracey Ray was the suspect who was shot in a Ralls County officer-involved shooting on July 2.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said four Ralls County deputies, and a New London police officer responded to a call about a “distraught woman” around 11:25 p.m. July 2.

Sgt. Brown said that during the encounter a woman sustained serious injuries and was life-flighted to a hospital in St. Louis. Brown added that the woman was the only person shot.

Last Wednesday Ray was fired by the Center’s Board Of Alderman in a  vote of 4-0 after learning that Ray had not filed state-mandated financial reports for the last three years.

Ray is married to Center Police Chief David Ray, who was fired in June, but reinstated a week later.

Center, Missouri, Mayor, Dennis McMillen said that David Ray has been placed on a two-week administrative leave for the audit.


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Jim Roberts

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