[Nameplate] Fair ~ 34°F  
High: 56°F
Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015

State Police launch Frisbie investigation

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Indiana State Police have launched an investigation of Putnam County Sheriff Mark Frisbie to determine whether criminal wrongdoing was involved in his handling of the Sheriff's Department's finances, a State Police spokesman announced Tuesday.

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter asked State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell Monday to investigate Frisbie after the State Board of Accounts found $4,400 in missing and misspent money linked to the sheriff in its audit of the department.

Whitesell agreed to Bookwalter's request Tuesday afternoon and will assign a detective to look into the sheriff's accounting practices, said State Police spokesman First Sgt. Dave Bursten.

The detective will not be from the Putnamville post, he added.

An investigation could take weeks or even months, if detectives run into problems, Bursten said.

The State Board of Accounts found more than a dozen "unallowable" expenses in its audit of the department's 2006 funds. These expenses included $800 for first-class airline tickets to a sheriff's conference in Orlando, Fla., for Frisbie, his wife and his daughter, a $600 limousine tour of Washington, D.C., $450 for "I support Sheriff Mark Frisbie" bracelets during election time and a $100 "business lunch" at Hooters between Frisbie and his attorney for which there was no receipt.

The sheriff paid back the $4,400 out of his own pocket at the request of officials at the State Board of Accounts.

Frisbie said he welcomes the State Police investigation and is confident that he will be cleared of all wrongdoing.

"Our books are wide open," he said. "We've got nothing to hide."

The sheriff called the State Board of Accounts findings "accounting errors."

He said many of the items pointed out in the report, including the limousine ride, were charged to the department's Visa card by George Alexander, the former Sheriff's Department manager who pleaded guilty in federal court last month to stealing nearly $50,000 in federal grant money.

Frisbie said he intended to pay back the $800 for the plane tickets to the June 2006 conference, but he forgot.

Deputy State Board of Accounts Commissioner Paul Joyce, however, said Frisbie's explanations for the misspent money did not absolve him of responsibility.

"From out standpoint, that's his opinion and his excuse," Joyce said. "We still believe he owed that money back."

But, Frisbie is hardly alone when it comes to trouble with the State Board of Accounts. Auditors asked public officials, across the state, to reimburse their departments a total of $3 million this year, Joyce said.

And State Police detectives received more than 200 requests to investigate public agencies from local officials in 2007, said Putnamville Post spokesman Sgt. Rich Myers.

Bookwalter said the plane ticket purchase is one of the biggest issues raised in the audit since it was the only purchase listed that was explicitly for Frisbie's personal use.

But, the prosecutor said he is reserving judgment until after the State Police completes its investigation.

All of the misspent money or missing receipts auditors found came from the Sheriff's Commissary Fund, according to the 15-page audit made public this week.

The Commissary Fund collects money from several sources, but it receives most of its cash from selling toiletries and snack food to jail inmates.

The Putnam County Jail's commissary sells everything from dandruff shampoo and playing cards to Ramen noodle soups and candy bars.

In 2006, the Sheriff's Department spent about $230,000 from the Commissary Fund -- much of which went to buying supplies for the inmates' commissary, according to this year's audit of Putnam County.

Every sheriff's department in the state operates a commissary fund and the money from the account can be used for only certain purposes, according to state law. These include:

* Merchandise for sale to inmates through the commissary,

* Expenses incurred while running the commissary,

* Training for sheriff's deputies and sheriff's department employees,

* Equipment installed in the jail,

* Equipment, such as computers, uniforms and vehicles, Sheriff's Department employees use to perform their jobs,

* Activities to help maintain discipline among jail inmates,

* Programs to help reduce criminal activity like drug use, domestic violence and drinking and driving, and

* The establishment and operation of a sex and violent offender registry.

State law also says that a county's commissary fund is the responsibility of the sheriff's department alone.

This means purchases made from the Putnam County Sheriff's Department Commissary Fund, unlike most other expenses in county government, are not overseen by the County Auditor and cannot be regulated by the County Commissioners or the County Council.

Only the State Board of Accounts has oversight of the Commissary Fund.

Frisbie, however, is required to make reports to the County Council twice a year.

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on bannergraphic.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

The rules seem pretty clear from this article. Although, it does seem quite necessary for them to amend the laws to include a $100 dollar Hooters bill from time to time.

-- Posted by Called-OUT! on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 1:51 AM

How do you forget a $ 800 bill for airline tickets, for over a year. " Oops, I forgot " is no excuse. What would happen if we were to tell the Gas, Electric, Water companies " Oops I forgot ". They shut everything off. No Excuse Sheriff. Guess we will just log this with the other mis-doings of this Sheriff. Glad I did not vote for him.

-- Posted by Tiburon on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 1:57 AM

It is good to see that Mr. Frisbie has a scapegoat in Mr. Alexander. Alexander made sme big mistakes and should pay for his actions. Frisbie should be held accountable fo his mistakes too. How could you "forget" you owe for upgraded airline tickets and other perks??

-- Posted by indy_500 on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 5:21 AM

Mark has be caught SEVERAL times, each time he was guilty, he paid $4400 back, admit he forgot about $800 AIRLINE TICKETS. MAYBE A CONVICTION AND YEARS IN HIS OWN JAIL . THAT IS WHAT HE WOULD OF WANTED FOR US. Mark, you aren't above the law and you are not the law....don't worry Mark you will come out smelling like a rose, like always. bet the taxpayers is paying for your attorney too.

-- Posted by victory on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 6:17 AM

""But, Frisbie is hardly alone when it comes to trouble with the State Board of Accounts. Auditors asked public officials, across the state, to reimburse their departments a total of $3 million this year, Joyce said.""

""And State Police detectives received more than 200 requests to investigate public agencies from local officials in 2007, said Putnamville Post spokesman Sgt. Rich Myers.""

Our sheriffs dept is not alone in matters like this. Statewide, that would average just over 2 agencies per county, and $32600 per agency investigated.

For the state's sake in many matters, a broader line could be drawn between "personal" and "business" use of public funds.

this comment was based on information provided by this article in the Banner Graphic and is solely the opinion of one reader with no authority on public matters

-- Posted by Xgamer on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 6:27 AM

hooters does have pretty good wings, for $100.00 mark you must have purchased the bottle of dom! good luck with your forgotten spenditures. we are going to hooters this sunday for the colts game wanna come? bring the p county visa, because at hooters they will not except american express, hey, maybe that should have been your excuse for hooters! why could you not have thought of that?

-- Posted by tired on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 9:11 AM

You may say that Frisbie is not alone when it comes to trouble with the State Board of Accounts. I just find it odd that Putnam County Sheriffs in the past never seemed to have issues like this. Our Sheriff's Dept. used to be something to be proud of, Frisbie has ran the reputation of or County and Sheriffs Dept. into the ground. We are a laughing stock to other Sheriffs Dept. and Counties around Indiana. I just wonder why it took the people of Putnam County so many years, and electing Frisbie twice to see what kind of person he really is. He gives people power over the dept. and they steal $50,000 then we find out that Frisbie himself is misusing funds. If he can do that and get elected twice I may run for Sheriff someday. It seems anyone can get elected here. Hopefully the voters will learn when the next Sheriffs election comes around.

-- Posted by PutnamResident on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 9:17 AM

The sheriff put George Alexander on leave as soon as questions arose about his actions. It seems like the same standards should apply here.

Also, if the Auditor paid bills without receipts, that calls for another investigation. Of course, with a county commissioner working in that office that poses a real conflict of interest. That is another mess.

They work for us. It is time we got our moneys worth.

-- Posted by justasking on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 1:13 PM

I watched this story unfold on the evening television news and now again in today's paper. How embarrassing, but much needed to root out this kind of hypocracy in our county government! The expense I find most repulsive is the one to further his election campaign--this is a clear violation of the law! These funds are not allowed to support political campaigns...I hope someone files a report with the state election commission. Our prosecutor walks a thin line on this issue, too, with his "Stop Meth" stickers with his name on them prominently shown and heavily distributed during election years--very suspect, if you ask me, and at least unethical.

-- Posted by Neighbor on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 2:06 PM

To be unethical means dishonorable, immoral, corrupt, or unprincipled. If you believe supporting the cause to stop meth in our county is unethical, maybe someone should visit your house.

Lets stay on track, theft is unethical, along with meth.

-- Posted by momto3 on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 2:48 PM

This is yet another black eye for our county. I really hope that a full investigation will show how far and deep this really runs. I also think its pretty funny that Mark seems to be blaming all of this on Mr. Alexander. Lets blame the guy that already admitted to wrong doing. If that is the case Mark is just as guilty for not knowing what was going on is his own department! How can you be that blind to all of these things...perhaps he was doing it all along himself! Keep digging Putnam County, lets get to the bottom of this!!!

-- Posted by QueenBee on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 2:59 PM

well this is another example of putnam county at it's best, if anyone thinks that this is an isolated incident think again. the real difference is mark may have got caught, keeping in mind that the perverbial "innocent until proven guilty" is still in effect, but it's also proven that this particular sheriff's office will turn on you on a dime. i hope mark isn't part of this mess, but i'll bet there will be others that will never be mentioned, it's whoever is the flavor of the month. think about it before you point a finger!

-- Posted by gottokno on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 8:10 PM

Sheriff Frisbie hired me after his re-election. he did so knowing that my parents did not support him. At first I did not like him and had no good reason why. I soon found him to be a good, fair and honest boss who treated all the employees and inmates with respect.

I have seen him think and wait about decisions until he was sure they were ethical and right.

I know first hand that mr. zinnee has told staff that he dosent trust Sheriff Frisbie and that he wants to bring him down. I will not participate and I am ashamed at what I read on this blog. There are 2 sides to every story and mr. zinnee is not presenting both. I can't believe there are so many hateful people out there...I once was wrong...I stand behind my boss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by sarasmiles on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 8:55 PM

4400 was paid back most people have larger discrepencies on there income taxes. If you want to reduce the risk of someone getting something your not VOTE TO REDUCE SPENDING IN THE WRONG PLACES-WASTED TAX MONEY study up on your candidates.

-- Posted by farmer on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 9:42 PM

not sucking up - just telling the truth - in your fantasy world, you must have trouble with that.

-- Posted by sarasmiles on Wed, Dec 19, 2007, at 11:21 PM

"I know first hand that mr. zinnee has told staff that he dosent trust Sheriff Frisbie and that he wants to bring him down. I will not participate and I am ashamed at what I read on this blog. There are 2 sides to every story and mr. zinnee is not presenting both. I can't believe there are so many hateful people out there...I once was wrong...I stand behind my boss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

There are 3 sides to every story. His side, their side, and the truth.

Once again. I hope for the best for Mr. Frisbie. Alot of people are on here to drag the Sheriff down. But the truth is, if you don't know the facts firsthand, then who are you to judge? Maybe you should run for Sheriff or a seat in the Courts.

-- Posted by Hungry&Fat on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 6:18 AM

Most of us don't know the actual truth and exactly what is happening there. We do appreciate reporting that is fair. Hopefully, Mark has done nothing wrong and I do beleive that he is INNOCENT until proven GUILTY. I also hope that Mr. Zennie is reporting everything and not just keeping it one-sided. I believe that he was also the one reporting on LaCha's deer carcass and I read that lots of people were upset about the type of reporting there too. (Wasn't that Mr Zennie's reporting also?) I'm beginning to wonder about his style of reporting actually. Present ALL of the facts as you get them.

I don't know if Frisbie's troubles were mistakes or not but it's not finished yet. When a decision has been made, we'll know. Until then, we need to wait and see what is found and determined.

-- Posted by bannerstuff on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 8:11 AM

a great boss does not make a great person.

what he did was wrong. not just the problems that had just arose, but the whole alexander issue. it starts at the top. we voted for a sheriff to oversee our jail,safety, and financial's in that department. i read in the banner back when the whole alexander thing came about, and if i remember alexander said "other things happened with other people and it will come out" i guess it has. alexander is going to do his time with admitting guilt, and at the same time sing like a bird to investigators. come clean now! dont make yourself look like an idiot later. you will be respected for honesty, more than just being a good boss!!

-- Posted by tired on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 8:11 AM

Sara has a right to make her opinion known. However, I would bet there are other employees at the jail that feel otherwise.

I believe the truth to be this, Frisbie used the Counties Funds for his personal use/gain. Whether he 'intended' to pay them back is irrelavent, he used funds that were not his and that was against the law. He knew this at the time the card was swiped. A drug user cant use the excuse...'I planned on getting clean later'...The name Sheriff does make you above the law.

-- Posted by momto3 on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 8:19 AM

Sara maybe if you knew Mark a little longer he wouldnt have you fooled too. He is not good, fair, or honest. He is in everything for himself, and no one else. Mark is an embarrassment to Putnam County, and the Sheriff's Dept. I cant wait until the day that Mark is gone and the Sheriff's Dept. can start to rebuild back to an honest and professional Sheriff's Dept. Thats the last thing it is now.

-- Posted by PutnamResident on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 9:56 AM

I'd just like to know,if he didn't have the money in his account,how could he even consider going anywhere?I need a little extra cash,could I borrow some also?

-- Posted by redrose2 on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 3:02 PM

There has always been one set of rules for the general public and one set of rules for Mark Frisbee. He just finally got caught again and can't talk his way out of this one. Hopefully he will not walk away with a slap on the wrist but be brought to justice the way it should have been all along. Look back to his past. This has been happening all along throughout his years in office. Why is anyone surprised?

-- Posted by jimsgirl on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 4:45 PM

if your on network t.v news you screwed up!

-- Posted by tired on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 7:46 PM

was the sheriff's conferance at the same time as daytona bike week? your bike was taken and brought back on wheels. face up bub or i will!

-- Posted by tired on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 7:55 PM

tired...check your dates and what - bike week!!! oh my gosh, you people are sooo hateful and don't know any of the facts...Mr. Zinnie, you have not reported this story well, you have been one sided and very inaccuart and misquoted and very, very unprofessional! Your desire to make a name for yourself should never, ever be at the expense of other people.

This blog is diseased with Helmer supporters and is shameful!

I am disgusted that the Banner, and I mean you, Randy List and Lisa Meyer, would condone and allow all of this!

And other thing, what about all the other county office's audits? Did we look at the prosecutors office, probation, the judges? Just wondering?

-- Posted by sarasmiles on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 8:19 PM

tired...where were you when the volunteer at north putnam stole all that money? Did you blame the Superindendant for it? What about when the guy from area 30 stole all that money and equipment - did you blame the board of directors? And the guy from the water department in Reelsvile - did you blame that board? How about the lady at old national bank - was the bank president responsible? what is you personal vendetta about the Sheriff all about?

ever heard the phraze that talks about glass houses?

-- Posted by sarasmiles on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 8:26 PM

Oh and every one forgets that our Sheriff is the one that called the state police to start the investigation on Alexander!

He called it! He did not try to cover anything up - he called for the truth - not to bury something!

A guilty man would not throw himself under scrutinty, and don't say he did it to direct attention away from himself - that is just foolish

-- Posted by sarasmiles on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 8:32 PM

Sara, I really hope you have not wasted all of your time defending your, "good boss" based on the partial sides you have seen from him on the job. Maybe your right, and his non-supporters are really holding his feet to the fire. However, this is going to be a little more of an intensive investigation BEYOND what has ALREADY been uncovered. My question to you is simple. Do you agree with his decision to use the department credit card for personal reasons? Feel free to respond with one word and spare us your reasoning for your answer. That simple two or three letter answer will tell us where you really stand on the issue. I also enjoyed your post on - Thursday Dec 20, 2007, at 8:19 PM when you stated, "oh my gosh, you people are sooo hateful." I didn't enjoy your statement because unfortunately, there might be a twinge of truth to that. What was entertaining for me was in the very same post you continued on with, "And other thing, what about all the other county office's audits? Did we look at the prosecutor's office, probation, the judges? Just wondering?" I hope you see a connection here. The more you spin in circles, the less likely you will know where you are. Cheers!

"Sometimes famous people can be selfish, but real heroes are selfless"

-A 4th grade student

-- Posted by Called-OUT! on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 11:12 PM

-Sara-you were hired after the re-election. So you were not at the jail for the multiple years before that when Frisbie left the dept for other to run for him while he was out doing what he does. Your support of your boss is great, however not everyone shares your opinion and should not be disrepected as you obviously like to dish to people who dont share your views. You condemn a one-sided article but you call others hateful and diseased because they dont share your opinion. You should work for the paper instead of the jail. (no offense banner-I appreciate your reporting-however you see fit)

I was wondering, did your parents appreciate you calling them hateful and 'diseased'. Quote "This blog is diseased with Helmer supporters and is shameful!" After all, they do not support Frisbie.

It is obvious you are a young one and still need to learn alot in this world.

-- Posted by momto3 on Fri, Dec 21, 2007, at 11:00 AM

I find none of this out of character for Sheriff Frisbie...I see he hasn't changed at all since high school.

My husband is active duty military & is entrusted with a federal government visa for use regarding government business. If used for ANY other purpose he would be court martialed, stripped of all rank, pay & benefits & put in a military prison until he worked to repay all that was owed. THEN he would be dishonorably discharged from his service to his country.

If Sheriff Frisbie has such a horrible memory, there are some fine Alzheimers units in Greencastle that have a room for him. Who forgets to pay back a debt of 800 dollars to the "people they so sacrificially serve?" Posthumous repaying of a debt after you've been called on the carpet about it is sickening.

He should resign immediately & sell cars.

-- Posted by klskgermany on Fri, Dec 21, 2007, at 3:19 PM

"Oh and every one forgets that our Sheriff is the one that called the state police to start the investigation on Alexander!

He called it! He did not try to cover anything up - he called for the truth - not to bury something!

A guilty man would not throw himself under scrutinty, and don't say he did it to direct attention away from himself - that is just foolish"

Oh no one forgets, a lot of people remember how cowardly that act was. A guilty man would very much throw someone else into all this with hopes that nothing would come back at him. Mark screwed up, he needs to pay also.

-- Posted by jamo7983 on Fri, Dec 21, 2007, at 4:56 PM

I'll try to stay to the topic since I guess someone didn't like hearing about the missing money that was sent to the jail by us. Victory, you have about said it all.

Nobody forgets to pay money back.

Borrowing money without permission is theft. We have laws in this country about theft.Wonder if the prosecutor will give him full immunity like he did a meth manufacturer,and a meth user. Lets get rid of these guys. We need honest people in our offices. There is no excuse for breaking the law. Break the law --Go to Jail-- Lose your job--its that simple. If you lie you will steal.

-- Posted by cmlandscape on Sat, Dec 22, 2007, at 9:20 PM

i've known mark for a while and he is a good law enforcement officer, note i can see that he may had misused his sheriff muscle, but i believe he paid back what he was suppose to, with the exception of what?, 800.00. i can't imagine all of you that have used your (job) muscle for your own gain. i'm not making excuses i'm just sayin' take a look at yourselves before you start attacking others...

now, if mark is put out of office who will become the next sheriff?, and maybe that person may be pushing for mark to get out of office so they can have their moment of glory! we all know how the good ole boy system is put into place, so get ready for another bottom kisser to take charge!

is it possible to have an emergency vote?

putnam county needs to have a say in this matter, don't you think!

mark do the right thing!!!!!!

-- Posted by gottokno on Tue, Dec 25, 2007, at 6:03 PM

UhOhNoNo, please keep my ex's name out of your comments. You dont know him, you obviously never did and it sickens me that you would use a deceased person to get back at Mark. Or better yet to make him look worse than he already is making himself look. Zachary Vibbert was an upstanding individual in society. He made mistakes, yes I will give you that, but who doesnt? He was 19 at the time he got arrested on what you call "drug charges." You obviously have no clue what you are talking about and you need to keep my children's fathers name out of any and all comments made against Mark. In actuality, if you would like facts. Sheriff Tom Helmer hired Zach. He took him in under his wings. If I know Putnam County as well as I did while living there and working in that jail, maybe that will change your mind about him. The entire county is ran on the good ol boy system. Thank God I came back home to Indy where I belong, away from crazy drama. I bet all you folks in Putnam County could make a very interesting soap opera and it would be a huge hit just simply from the drama you bring on yourselves.

-- Posted by cmg071580 on Thu, Dec 27, 2007, at 7:38 AM

Can anyone tell me with certainty how many vehicles are in the fleet for the Sheriff's Dept? How many employees vs vehicles?

-- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 8:31 AM

You gotta love Mark!!!!!!! He's so sliiiiiccccccckkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!! If he were a lawyer, he'd be better paid than he is right now even if he has several jobs. Tell me, how can one person work for the county as the local Sheriff, yet have such a lucrative business on the side. You would only get to work on your down time for your second job. Because we all know being a sheriff or sheriff's deputy takes up a lot of time as you never know when you are going to be called into work. I think we should all vote for Dennis the UPS man next time for Mayor AND sheriff!!!!!! Go UPS

-- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 8:34 AM

Guilty people are the first to throw someone under a bus! If you were doing something illegal....hmmm let me cast blame on lets say Mr. Alexander, then no one will look at me!! No one will realize what I have been doing, then if I do get caught...Oh I got it, I'll just say that George did it! Sounds like that is what he did, and what he is doing. Mark needs to be put on leave just like George was until the investigation is complete.

I also like how when he was iterviewed by FOX 59(its still on the web page) he basically balmed everything on "my guys" Seems like he is blaming everyone and everything for his "forgetfullness"

Sara-we are all entitled to our own opnions, and if somehow all of us are wrong about "this wonderful man/boss" you can gloat all you want.

Also, if Mark wants to keep blaming everything on Mr. Alexander, he is just as guilty for not knowing what was going on in his own department.

-- Posted by QueenBee on Fri, Dec 28, 2007, at 2:33 PM

You did in fact speak illfully of him. I stated facts, you blabbed bull. He was in fact arrested on drug charges, those charges were dropped because of wrongdoings by the sheriff's department as well as Cloverdale. I don't have any problems with anyone speaking about him, I only ask that you speak about facts instead of what you think you know. Tom hired him, over a year before the election was even being talked about. Tom's nephew took him in under his wing, as well as his wife. Those are facts. Making it out as if Mark hired him, makes it seem as if it was another of Mark's so called mistakes. I worked with all of these people for years and prosecuting them in the papers and on the internet isnt going to make the outcome any different. Wait until all facts are stated and if you don't like that outcome, Karma always comes back to those its owed.

-- Posted by cmg071580 on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 11:29 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: