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Marcia Hall: Full Time County Auditor or Private CPA? - Full Time Madera or Merced Resident? Print E-mail
News - Opinion
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 09:57

MADERA - In January of 2012 Marcia Hall was appointed to complete the term of former Madera County Auditor/Controller Janet Kroeger by a unanimous vote from the Madera County Board of Supervisors. However no one advised Ms. Hall at the time that as an (appointed) elected official, she had to live in Madera County in order to hold that position.

A year later the board realized that the advice given to them by former county counsel Doug Nelson was wrong and that Hall would have to move to Madera County from Merced if she wanted to continue in her current (appointed) elected position. For the next several months Hall claimed she was looking for a house to rent in the Chowchilla area and each time she spoke at the weekly board of supervisors meetings it seemed like her search for a Madera County residence was a running joke that the board was in on.

Then after a year and a half on the job, Mrs. Hall said she was renting a home in a gated community near the golf course in Chowchilla, but each time Big Valley News tried to make contact with Mrs. Hall at that address, no one was home. During this same time the same car she parked in the parking structure at the Madera County Government Center was routinely parked outside her home in Merced, California. A home that ironically was only a couple left and right turns from an office where the county auditor has maintained a private CPA firm since being appointed to her elected position.

So BVN decided to question Mrs. Hall on her office and home in Merced and why we could never make a connection with her at her rented home in Chowchilla. After three weeks of leaving messages with her offices in Merced and Madera, BVN was finally able to ask our questions. However it didn't seem that Mrs. Hall appreciated the fact that she was being questioned about where she lived or worked. The conversation on her part quickly degenerated to her referring to this reporter as "Dude" after each question.

I asked Mrs. Hall about reports that on some days she wouldn't show up for work at the county government center until 4:45pm. She answered that everyone at the building knew she stayed sometimes until after 8:00pm to get her work done. I asked her if working a 3 hour and 15 minute day made her a full-time auditor for the county? "DUDE!"

I asked her about her CPA firm in Merced and again whether she was a full-time auditor for the county or a full-time CPA for her tax clients? She said she ran a very small firm in Merced. I then asked about her phone recording that states her office in Merced is open from 8-5pm Monday through Friday by appointment. She said she had a partner in the office. But the California Board of Accountancy does not list a partner in Mrs. Hall's firm. "DUDE!"

I asked her about her home in Chowchilla and why BVN was never able to make contact with her at that location? "Well when were you there?", Hall would ask. We explained we would knock on the door around 8pm on weekdays and at varying times on weekends. "We go home on weekends", Hall answered. 'HOME'?, was all I could think of saying. To which Hall explained that because of her and husbands schedules they were never in the Chowchilla home until late at night on weekdays and left early in the morning. She also stated she spent most of their weekend time at their home in Merced. "It would be no different if we had a house in the mountains". "So you summer in Merced?". I asked. "DUDE?"

Around 10:30pm on the day BVN interviewed Mrs. Hall I received a voice mail from Bryan Hall, husband of the county auditor. He was very upset with the questions that were asked of his wife and said, "I guess we need to talk. I am not happy with the conversation with my wife, you will talk to me. See you soon."

After our interview BVN learned that Marcia Hall had filed with the Merced County Assessors Officer form BOE-266, "Claim for Homeowners' Property Tax Exemption" for her residence in Merced. The California Constitution provides a $7,000 reduction in the taxable value for a qualifying owner-occupied home. The home in question must be the principal place of residence of the owner.

If she is claiming her home in Merced County as her principal place of residence, how can she be a resident of Madera County? By taking the tax exemption in Merced County is she defrauding the County of Merced by living in Chowchilla? This is something I would think a CPA of her experience would know to be wrong. Or is she lying to the voters of Madera County by claiming to be a resident of this county? How can she have it both ways?

We also found a donation for $100 that Mrs. Hall made to a candidate for the Madera County Board of Supervisors District 1. This donation was listed in the disclosures for candidate Ray Krause. In that disclosure, filed in January of 2014, Mrs. Hall's address is listed as 2513 Windy Court, Merced CA 955340. You would think that a county auditor, who is also a CPA, would take measures to make sure her own financial records got to the correct address, unless she is still living at the Merced home.

Last Sunday afternoon we received a call from a campaign worker walking the area of Mrs. Hall's home on Edgewater Drive in Chowchilla. This person wanted to confirm Mrs. Hall's address on that street and said when they looked thru the window into the front room of the house, it was unfurnished. I then asked that campaign worker, who asked we not release their name, to please not break any laws or invade the Hall's privacy.

So is Marcia Hall a full-time private practice Tax CPA or full-time county auditor? Is she a full time resident of Madera County or Merced County? Has she taken tax exemptions that she is not entitled to or did she fib on the county election forms as to where she really lives? After two years on the job, are we any closer to being caught up on the late audits that have caused so many Federal and State funds to bypass programs here in Madera County?

It seems the more BVN look into Marcia Hall, the more questions we have.

 


 

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