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Department of Justice will investigate potential wrongdoing by former MACRD executive director.

HOLLY M. GILL - The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office has turned the investigation into potential wrongdoing by the former MACRD executive director, Joe McHaney, over to the Oregon Department of Justice.The investigation into potential wrongdoing by the former executive director of the Madras Aquatic Center Recreation District, Joe McHaney, has been turned over to the state.

"I appointed the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute (if necessary)," said Jefferson County District Attorney Steve Leriche, who asked the DOJ to handle the case to avoid any possible conflict of interest.

Under normal circumstances, the case would be investigated by the Madras Police Department, but because Sgt. Steve Webb serves on the MACRD Board of Directors and works with the District Attorney's Office, and McHaney's stepmother is the office manager at the Madras Police Department, Leriche decided it wouldn't be appropriate.

"There is obvious potential for conflicts of interest for the MPD," said Leriche.

McHaney was placed on administrative leave by the MACRD and Kids Club Board of Directors on April 12, when the MAC began to look into possible misconduct by McHaney.

The board hired an accountant to review unusual financial transactions at the MAC, which occurred from Jan. 1, 2017, through April 30, 2018. The firm found 90 transactions, for a total of $7,128.82, in which the district received cash payments and later voided the payments, sometimes issuing a "non-monetary receipt."

For 82 of the transactions, McHaney was "the user who processed the void," the report found.

McHaney's attorney, Dave Allen, who made the accountant's report available, said that the report is not the same as an audit. "We don't think there's any money missing, let alone that Joe was responsible," Allen said on June 11, when McHaney was terminated. "There hasn't been a comprehensive audit."

There is currently no timeline for the DOJ's investigation.

"Also, the investigation of this case will likely require forensic accounting and forensic computer analysis, and the DOJ has more of those types of resources than a local law enforcement agency."

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