CANTON – St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain says county Administrator Karen St. Hilaire has been put on notice that the DA’s office will request a grand jury be convened to investigate the loss of over a half million dollars of state grants.
"This grant money had been received without interruption for over 15 years and provided two victim advocates for St. Lawrence County. It now appears that the loss of the funds was a result of a failure to make a timely application,” Rain said.
"There are questions on why this failure occurred, why the county administrator was not on top of the application process and why she has provided unsatisfactory answers to the Board of Legislators regarding how this occurred under her administration."
Rain also says her office has conducted a preliminary investigation into what she says was improper use of the county’s criminal forfeiture funds.
“It appears that in December of last year, the County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire requested and received the improper divestures of money by then-District Attorney Nicole Duve, to make purchases for Ms. St. Hilarie's department with those monies in violation of the law,” a statement from Rain says.
“It was discovered withdrawals from the asset forfeiture account were continuing in 2014. To stop these unauthorized withdrawals, my office sent a letter to Ms. St. Hilaire to immediately cease and desist the use of these funds without the express authorization by my office.”
Rain says a copy of the letter was sent to county Treasurer Kevin Felt, who Rain says is responsible for maintaining these accounts by state law.
The letter was also shared with North Country This Week and NorthCountryNow.com.