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Jefferson County Clerk under scrutiny for check to local GOP

Jefferson County Clerk of Court & Comptroller Kirk Reams is under scrutiny after writing a...
Jefferson County Clerk of Court & Comptroller Kirk Reams is under scrutiny after writing a $5,000 check from his office to the Jefferson County Republican party.(Jefferson Co. Board of County Commissioners)
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 12:57 PM EDT
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MONTICELLO, Fla. (WCTV) – Jefferson County Clerk of Court & Comptroller Kirk Reams is under scrutiny after writing a $5,000 check from his office to the Jefferson County Republican Party.

“I don’t think it’s an appropriate expenditure, to give money to any political party,” County Commission Chair Stephen Walker told WCTV.  “We do sponsor things, occasionally, but for the entire public, not for a specific group,” Walker said.

“This is not about party politics; it is about Kirk Reams- who handles millions of our taxpayer dollars — who is spending government money for sponsorship and promoting his name with no benefit to our County or the average residents of Jefferson County,” wrote Commissioner Betsy Barfield in an email to WCTV.

The check first came to light during the county commission’s Oct. 7 meeting during a review of vouchers for spending out of the county’s general fund.

The handwritten check for $5,000, dated Sept. 3, 2021, appears to be from the Clerk of the Circuit Court account at Capital City Bank in Monticello. The word “sponsorship” is written in the memo line. The signature is illegible.

A discussion of the check is now on the agenda for Thursday’s board of commissioners meeting.

Board chair Walker says he placed the item on the agenda because he feels the commission needs to address community concerns. Walker also said Reams plans to make a statement at the meeting. WCTV has reached out to Reams but we are waiting to hear back.

The chair said it’s not clear whether the commission could investigate the expenditure, as the Clerk of Court is an elected, constitutional officer who operates independently of the commission.

Commissioner Barfield said at a minimum, the board should call for a forensic audit of all of the clerk’s money handling.

“As a taxpayer, it upsets me that Kirk has written checks out of government funds to promote his name, receive tickets to events, alcohol tickets, VIP parking and VIP reception tickets. As a Commissioner it is my duty to bring to light any questionable expenditures,” said Barfield.

WCTV also reached out to all other Jefferson County commissioners, but we have yet to hear back.

The Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners is set to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Courthouse Annex in Monticello.

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