Cowlitz County Coroner Tim Davidson is under investigation for fraud after the State Auditor’s Office found that he accepted more than $12,000 in personal reimbursements for travel expenses that had been paid by the county, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s office said.
According to a report from the Auditor’s Office, between February 10, 2016, and May 10, 2019 Davidson was reimbursed $12,602.71 for travel expenses from two organizations, even though the county had paid for his travel.
The Washington State Patrol is also investigating the case, and the Auditor’s office said it has referred the case to the Cowlitz County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
“While disappointed in the length of time it has taken to receive the results of the (State Auditor’s Office) fraud investigation we are confident in the integrity of the results and recommendations made in the report,” the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s office said in a press release. “WSP will be completing a criminal investigation report in the near future.”
The investigation was sparked on Aug. 5, 2019 when Cowlitz County notified the Auditor’s Office about a potential loss of public funds.
At the time, Davidson served as president of the Washington Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners and traveled to attend or present at trainings and conferences and for legislative meetings. He also attended International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners conferences and performed accreditation audits on behalf of the Association.
According to the report, both associations reimburse individuals for incurred travel expenses if they complete a reimbursement request form and submit receipts.
On Dec. 15, 2020, the auditor’s office interviewed Davidson, who “acknowledged personally receiving reimbursement funds from the WACME and IACME Associations for County-paid travel expenses,” and offered to repay the county , the report said.
The auditor’s report recommend the county seek recovery of the $12,600 plus related investigation costs of $21,850 from Davidson or the county’s insurance bonding company.
Look for a full story on the investigation in Saturday’s edition of TDN. Davidson had no comment.