Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said Grove City administrators are investigating whether a company hired in 2007 to balance the city's books did the work.

Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said Grove City administrators are investigating whether a company hired in 2007 to balance the city's books did the work.

The head of the company told The Grove City Record the work was done.

At the March 21 city council meeting, Stage made a brief presentation on the 2006 state audit findings, which turned up a $2,792 discrepancy in a city account. In 2007, the city hired accounting and financial management specialists Donald J. Schonhardt & Associates to balance the books with the account.

A memo to city council dated Sept. 14, 2007, from then-city administrator Sharon Reichard said that the issues were corrected.

Stage on March 25 said he does not know if the work was done.

Stage said city administrator Phil Honsey and finance director Mike Turner are checking city records to see whether Schonhardt & Associates completed the work the company was hired to complete.

Donald J. Schonhardt on March 29 said, "Why didn't (Stage) ask me" if he wanted proof the work was done.

"I have all the documentation in my office that proves we did all we were asked to do," Schonhardt said. "I'd be happy to provide it to (Stage.)"

Schonhardt said Grove City's problems with its financial records and its unpaid tax bills stem from its payroll department. "All we were asked to do was reconcile an investment account ... that had nothing to do with the payroll department."

He said Stage is "looking for a scapegoat (and) looking for problems elsewhere, when there are none."

The memo "was only thing I was going by," said Stage, who was a member of city council in 2007. "As far as I know, no one ever followed up (to make sure that work was completed). We paid them almost $7,000."

City spokesman Don Walters said Tuesday, March 29, the investigation into the matter is ongoing.

"They don't have anything resolved yet," Walters said.

Stage brought up the issue because it relates to the city's payroll account, which is the focus of a Grove City police investigation into unpaid and late federal and state payroll takes.

"(Schonhardt & Associates) were engaged by us, and obviously there were certain things that were supposed to be performed, and we want to make sure what the results were," Stage said.

Cheryl Grossman was Grove City mayor when the Sept. 17, 2007 memo was written.

In early December, the Internal Revenue Service told the city it owed about $685,905 in unpaid payroll withholding taxes. An initial investigation identified more unpaid quarterly tax returns totaling about $370,000, with discrepancies in the city's books beginning in 1999. City funds totaling $235,311 are unaccounted for, Turner said in March.

On Dec. 10, the city placed payroll specialist Jackie Kincade, 61, on paid leave.

She submitted her retirement effective Jan. 7 and has denied any wrongdoing.

Earlier this month, police spokesman Capt. Steve Robinette said police had not yet confirmed if a theft took place in connection with the IRS debt.