MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – There's a new controversy swirling in Macomb County involving county prosecutor Eric Smith and his link to so-called off-book bank accounts and a lot of money.
While it appears to be a turf battle, in the end, it's a political fight. Smith is a Democrat, and Treasurer Lawrence Rocca is a Republican. Macomb County politics often spark tough battles, and this appears to be another.
Rocca was elected as Macomb County's treasurer in 2016. Earlier this summer after an audit, Rocca got the ball rolling on the battle.
In a letter to the state treasurer's office, Rocca wrote, "The auditors discovered that our county prosecutor was keeping a bank account that was not recorded on the county's general ledger, nor did I have administrative control over the account."
Rocca said that after about a month, he reached out to Smith on the subject and that Smith told him he didn't receive the audit letter. Smith said Rocca was not going to get the forfeiture account because he needed it to pay for funerals, Rocca said.
Upon further investigation, Rocca said he found four off-the-books accounts with a total balance of nearly $240,000. The accounts are now using non-Macomb County tax identifications.
"The letter released by Macomb County treasurer Larry Rocca shines a light on his lack of experience and knowledge of the state forfeiture laws," Smith's office said Tuesday. "Contrary to Rocca's belief, these funds cannot be improperly commingled with the county's general fund budget. The treasurer has recently indicated to our office that he is entitled to complete administrative control over the proceeds that have been taken from repeat drunk drivers and convicted drug dealers, including how they are spent. Unfortunately, we disagree with his position."
You can read the full letter from Rocca below.