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GREGORY ET AL. v. ROLLINS ET AL.

November 27, 1956

NED GREGORY ET AL., PETITIONERS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
WALTER W. ROLLINS, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF LANCASTER COUNTY, ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Legge, Justice.

November 27, 1956.

On April 2, 1955, the resident judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit ordered that a writ of mandamus issue requiring appellants (the Board of Directors, the County Treasurer and the Legislative Delegation of Lancaster County) to issue and pay warrants in satisfaction of a claim of respondents Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., in the amount of $3,570.00 for services as accountants in making an audit of the fiscal affairs of that county for the year ended June 30, 1954, and in satisfaction of a claim of respondent Ned Gregory in the amount of $500.00 for services as attorney in matters relating to such audit. Appellants charge error in the issuance of that order, in that:

(a) At the time of its issuance no funds of the county were available for such payments;

(b) Its effect would be to appropriate county funds for purposes not contemplated or authorized by the current county supply act; and

(c) It contravenes Article I, Section 14 of the Constitution of South Carolina.

On August 14, 1954, Harold Rowell and others presented to the resident judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit their petition reading as follows:

"1. That they are a committee of the Lancaster County Grand Jury, authorized by unanimous vote of the said jury to file this petition and proceed to such extent as may be necessary to obtain an audit of the office, books, papers, vouchers and accounts of Lancaster County, pursuant to 38-409 of the 1952 Code.

"2. That it is the desire of the Lancaster County Grand Jury that the office of the County of Lancaster and the affairs transacted therein be investigated and a complete audit of the books and records be made by a certified public accountant for a period of one (1) year, from June 30, 1953, to June 30, 1954.

"3. That the said Grand Jury is without means of defraying the expense of such an investigation and audit, and the Senator for Lancaster County refuses to authorize such expenditures, as required by the County Appropriation Act, although the House Members have signed such an authorization.

"4. That no audit has been made over this period of time, and only a cursory annual routine audit has been made since 1936 by the same auditor.

"5. That petitioners believe that it would be for the best interest of the County that a different auditor be employed for this audit rather than the one who has previously done this work.

"6. That the said Grand Jury is informed and believes that large sums of money have been unlawfully spent, and that appropriate records of expenditures for bridges, chaingang operations and numerous other items have not been kept.

"7. That bids have been received by at least three (3) certified public accountants, and the sum of four thousand ($4,000.00) dollars must be approved by this court before an accountant can be employed to make this audit.

"8. That it has become necessary for petitioners to employ attorneys, and that a reasonable sum should be ...


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