Radnor Township officials said yesterday that they would seek reimbursement from a former township manager accused of misusing $377,762 in taxpayer money during his tenure, according to a forensic audit released this week.

The Board of Commissioners fired David A. Bashore in April, soon after discovering that since 1999 he had paid out bonuses - including $151,500 to himself - that board members say they never approved.

But the audit showed that Bashore also had used a township credit card for undocumented and personal expenses totaling $165,470, and had asked the payroll department to reimburse him $11,365 for unused personal time even though there was no policy to provide such payment.

Bashore also altered documents detailing some of his credit-card purchases, an act that might be criminal, the report said. Local and federal authorities are reviewing the matter, said John Rice, the township's interim solicitor.

"I'm not sure the board realized that it was this extensive," Rice said. "I think that they certainly feel betrayed by the manager. . . . They would like to see justice done and whatever sanctions, criminal sanctions, to be instituted. They're going to pursue any and all civil claims against him to recoup as much of the wrongly appropriated money as they can."

Bashore's lawyer, Ronald Surkin, declined to comment in depth about some accusations because he said he had not fully reviewed the report. But he disputed that Bashore had misused the township credit card, and called the allegation "baseless."

He also disputed the extent to which Bashore had used the card for personal use.

"I think there were a couple of limited times where there were expenditures on trips. Maybe his wife was along on a trip and there was a bill for a dinner, and then when the request for the credit-card bill came, it was reimbursed," Surkin said.

Marcum L.L.P., an accounting firm in Bala Cynwyd, conducted the audit.

According to the report, Bashore admitted charging $9,542.82 in personal expenses on the township credit card, for which he reimbursed the township $7,994.82. Using the card for personal expenses might be criminal, the audit report states.

Asked about the personal-expense amounts, Surkin said, "There was nothing like that discussed. I have no idea where that information comes from."

On Monday, township commissioners retained Neil A. Morris, a lawyer with Archer & Greiner in Philadelphia, to help the township treasurer file a surcharge action to pursue the misappropriated money.

The township also seeks $50,000 from Bashore, the balance of a home loan that was forgiven incrementally over the course of Bashore's contract before it was terminated.

The Delaware County District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case, Assistant District Attorney Michael Mattson said.

Bashore has moved from his home in the township, Surkin said. He added that his client would not comment on the report until they reviewed it.

"We cooperated fully with the accountants," Surkin said, "and provided them with all the information that they asked for. The meeting we had with them was bizarre in that they would not provide Mr. Bashore with access to the records he needed to answer the questions. They would only give us their summaries."

In the meetings leading to his termination, Bashore defended his actions, saying the board had "expressly and implicitly" authorized him to award bonuses to himself and others. He said the board had approved the bonuses in the overall budget.

But the audit said commissioners were unlikely to find the lump-sum bonuses: Through 2005, Bashore directed that the money spent be classified under sewer-fund repairs and maintenance, the report said.

The audit further concluded that Bashore's manner of awarding bonuses had created an atmosphere ripe for fraud, saying he "maintained secrecy around the bonuses" and used them to reward those who were loyal to him.

"Employees that supported Bashore and kept his confidences were rewarded; employees who questioned Bashore or frustrated his management of the township received nothing," the audit said.

Bashore delivered the list of bonus recipients to the payroll clerk, asking her to write checks rather than deposit the amounts directly and to return the checks directly to him.

"By means of these directions, Bashore effectively kept the finance director, the payroll clerk's supervisor, in the dark about when bonuses were paid, to whom, and for how much," the report said.

Allegations Against Bashore

Accusation   Amount   

Undocumented or personal use of credit card   $165,470

Lump-sum bonuses paid to himself   $151,500

Excess reimbursement of taxes

on noncash compensation   $30,429

Excess moving expenses   $14,580

Cash in lieu of taking allotted time off   $11,365

Unsupported reimbursement of travel expenses   $1,540

Unsupported reimbursement for civic

or charity activities   $1,517

Inadequate documentation of petty-cash use   $1,361

Total   $377,762   

SOURCE: www.radnor.com

EndText

Contact staff writer Joelle Farrell at 610-627-0352 or jfarrell@phillynews.com.