COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The head of a state prison in Columbus County is under investigation after the Office of the State Auditor says he violated NC Department of Public Safety travel policy.
In a report released to the public today, the Office of the State Auditor says it began the investigation after receiving a hotline tip about allegations of Brad Perritt’s misuse of state vehicles.
The report, which does not use Perritt’s name, says the administrator failed to follow department policy by not completing required travel logs to document his use of state-owned vehicles from January 2016 to December 2018. Instead the report says he completed trip tickets. Auditors say their review of those tickets found numerous errors, including overlapping mileage, missing trip tickets, undocumented mileage and missing destinations and or purpose of a trip. They say this raised the risk of undetected vehicle use.
Among the issues they found were a trip ticket for a two-week period that had an explanation for a one-day meeting in Raeford. It reported 875 miles driven, even though Raeford is a 151-mile round trip from the prison.
Another ticket claimed 749 miles over a four-day period for a trip to Lumberton, which is an 80-mile round trip.
A trip ticket for the month of June 2018 included an explanation of going to two out-of-town events on separate days that would have totaled 480 miles. The trip ticket, though, accounted for more than 2,000 miles driven.
According to the report, Perritt told auditors Tabor Correctional used trip tickets instead of required travel logs because the tickets “could be monitored daily.” However, the report found the prison “failed to properly monitor trip tickets and the use of vehicles.”
The report recommended the the prison enforce departmental policy. It also recommended the Department of Public Safety require the administrator provide documentation for unaccounted mileage or get him to reimburse the state for it.
The report includes an April letter from Secretary of Public Safety Erik Hooks accepting the report’s findings. Hooks also said DPS is conducting its own investigation that would determine how it would handle the recommendation for reimbursement.
NCDPS spokesman John Bull told WWAY the department investigation into Perritt, who took over leadership at the prison in 2016, continues. Bull did not know when the investigation would wrap up.
Perritt has not yet responded to messages left by WWAY for comment. His secretary said he was out of the office today.