Secretary of State Examines Wesley House Books

Meridian, Miss. An examination by the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office of Wesley House in Meridian makes some serious allegations about how the agency is handling its money.

Newscenter 11 obtained a copy of that examination Friday.
It issued five different findings of potential violations that could cause the charity to lose its registration from the state, if they are not addressed in the near future.

According to the examination: there were missing memos on checks to document transactions; executive director Ginger Grissom's salary was also found to be inaccurate or misleading; the administrative costs may have been under-reported and program services over-reported; all qualified 10-99s were not issued as required; and Grissom spent over $55,000 of the charity's funds for personal expenses.

Newscenter 11 was not able to speak to Grissom personally.

However, board members at that time say they knew about the spending and had already approved it.

The report says that money was repaid. But another expense was a home office, furnished with charitable funds. The examiner noted more than adequate facilities on-site at Wesley House for the executive director.

Wesley House finance committee chairman, Kris Gianakos, says Grissom's home office is necessary because her position requires her to always be on call as a 24/7 responder.

"She's much like you would call the Red Cross or any emergency agency, that if there is something that needs to be handled, those issues do not come up at the normal 7 to 5 working hours," said Gianakos. "We're going to continue to do that work, but only in an improved fashion. That's our whole purpose in life. I'm not afraid of inspections; I'm not afraid of audits. I want people to tell us if we're doing something inappropriate."

Gianakos says Grissom's office setup is minimal, but necessary. He says all of these issues are currently being handled by the board, and they will be putting policies in place to prevent future discrepancies.

The Secretary of State's Exam Summary Report is dated Aug. 23. Wesley House will have until Sept. 12 to appropriately respond.

A copy of the Secretary of State documents are attached.

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