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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Columbia County – Court and Trust Funds (2014M-353)

Released: January 16, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether County officials have established appropriate controls to safeguard and account for court and trust funds for the period January 1, 2013 through January 1, 2014.


County officials are responsible for safeguarding court and trust funds in their care. Pursuant to a court order, certain assets may be provided to the court and then delivered to the County Treasurer for safekeeping, such as surplus moneys from foreclosures. Also, in certain circumstances, funds from estates are entrusted to the Treasurer for safekeeping by order of the Surrogate’s Court.

Key Findings

  • We identified 15 instances of abandoned property that were not turned over to the State Comptroller.
  • The County Clerk’s register of moneys and securities paid, transferred or deposited, or ordered to be paid, transferred or deposited, to a court is inaccurate.
  • The Surrogate’s Court Clerk has not kept the required Surrogate’s register.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that all moneys deemed abandoned property are turned over to the State Comptroller in a timely manner.
  • Maintain an up-to-date County Clerk’s register as required by law.
  • Ensure that all court and trust fund actions are entered into the Surrogate’s register.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236