- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Police in Arkansas have launched an investigation into Mississippi County’s relationship with a Missouri-based company owned by a county employee’s relative.

Mississippi County has paid more than $1 million to Hollister Industrial LLC for heavy equipment repairs at the county’s landfill since October 2012, the Jonesboro Sun (http://bit.ly/1iUEtXg ) reported. The company is owned by Rick Mosley, who is landfill employee Mike Mosley’s brother.

District Attorney Scott Ellington requested the investigation after reviewing the findings of auditors, who were concerned about the amount of money paid to Hollister, the owner’s relationship to a county employee and the distance between the company’s location and Mississippi County.

Both Ellington and an Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation into the audit findings.

Mississippi County Quorum Court Justice of the Peace Michael White, who serves as chairman of the sanitation committee, also has questioned work Hollister has performed at the landfill.

In April, White pressed landfill supervisor Nathan Taylor about a $38,960 payment made to the company. Taylor said he didn’t sign the check, claiming the expenditure was approved by County Judge Randy Carney, who was supposed to bring the invoice to the quorum court, which is required to pass an ordinance allowing the county to conduct business with a county employee.

The county paid nearly $39,000 for “cleaning and dismantling the transmission and replacing o-rings, clutches and pan gaskets” performed by Hollister. White believes the amount is too high for such work.

“The judge wasn’t checking prices with other people,” White said. “And we were spending a huge amount of money with a company six hours away. It raised some red flags.”

Hollister representatives couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, http://www.jonesborosun.com

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