Ware Shoals’ court system has lost track of nearly $200,000 worth of tickets, fines and fees, which officials now want to find.
At Tuesday’s town council meeting, Councilwoman Valerie Jackson said the town became aware of a problem stretching back to 2004 where some fines and fees were not tracked properly. She said the tracking system the town’s courts use to keep tabs on fines wasn’t showing scheduled, timed payments over the years.
She said the town’s municipal judge, Lisa Phillips, is working to contact people with outstanding fines and fees, seeking payment. Police Chief Bryan Louis said he learned about the problem from former police chief Calvin Culbertson.
After officers looked into it, Louis said they found the problem stemmed from the court system and said Phillips was working to address it. Phillips could not be reached for comment.
Louis said it appeared some tickets weren’t being closed out and showed that people still owed money after they had paid their fees. In other cases, scheduled timed payments weren’t followed up on, leaving some tickets and fees unpaid. He said Phillips was sending letters out and signing bench warrants in an attempt to collect some of the fees.
During Tuesday’s town council meeting, Culbertson asked council if the State Law Enforcement Division was notified about this issue. Jackson said the town’s administrative committee considered contacting SLED, but decided against it, opting to handle the situation themselves.
Culbertson said in the meeting he would contact SLED and request they investigated the matter. SLED representative Tommy Crosby said the agency had not received a formal request for an investigation, and if they received a call requesting one from a private person, they would have asked them to send a letter asking investigators to open a case.