Crandall resident John Morrison made public claims that Helms solicited money from the seniors she works with at the Senior Center last year, and that she did so under false pretenses of needing money for a medical procedure. Morrison said he donated $500 to Helms to help with her medical needs. He alleges that Helms even put a donation jar on her desk at work. The 88 year-old Morrison also questioned a $200 check that Helms is allegedly given each month from the Forney Site Committee to cover petty cash expenses.
Helms explained what the Forney Site Committee checks are for, saying that it is used to reimburse her for purchasing needed items for the center, such as bingo prizes, kitchen supplies, cups, and other miscellaneous items. “The $200 check is not issued monthly, it is a revolving petty cash process, so they write a check as needed. On a monthly basis I give my receipts to the Treasurer, Ilene Hughes.” She said that the Site Council then agrees as a whole that it has cleared the Treasurer's records and the check is issued as needed. “Depending on the needs of the center, I can go two or three months without needing a petty cash check,” said Helms. She said that she offered to show Mr. Morrison the receipts when he was the Site Committee President, a position he resigned from last month, but that he declined to look at them.
A surprise audit was conducted last week by the KCSCS CFO to check the petty cash issue. Helms said, “It cleared my name of all allegations. They checked receipts from my hire date four years ago, all the way up to current, through the month of May.” Helms continued, “They showed that there was no wrongdoings in any of the petty cash receipts, bank statements, and checks that were made.” InForney.com verified the audit was conducted by Phyllis Walker, the Director of Aging Services at KCSCS and Cynthia Mateu, the Financial Administrator for the agency. We further verified that according to the audit, there was “no misuse of petty cash funds.”
As to the other allegation that Jennifer Helms solicited money from seniors at the center, for her own personal gain, she told inForney.com that she never solicited any money, “Nor was there ever a [donation] jar on my desk.” She said she never asked anyone at the Layden Senior Center to give her money for any reason. She declined to comment further about the alleged money she was given. Helms acknowledges that she did have a medical procedure done last year, “I've had surgery.”
When asked about any possible issues John Morrison may have with her, Helms said, “I honestly don't know John Morrison's issue. He's not a Forney resident, I've been puzzled. I think he saw me go through some health concerns, and then my family had a paid trip to New York and that bothered him. He is one voice that is completely opposite of everyone else and I don't understand. She did indicate that she felt some of his motivation may come from her current run for the Place 5 City Council seat. Early voting for the run-off for that seat has already begun, and election day is June 12.
Helms confirmed for inForney.com this evening that despite reports to the contrary, she has not been fired and she is still the Director at the at the Senior Center at this time. Helms made a final statement, “I want to say that I never had a fear in these allegations that were being presented. My fear is losing the integrity for what I've done for the senior citizens of Forney, what I've done for the center and what I continue to do for Forney. The last thing I want is false accusations to hinder everything that I've worked so hard to accomplish.”