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Mehlville School District's auditing firm recently ended poor status with state

The firm that performed the Mehlville School District's 2003 audit recently discovered it was not in good financial standing with the state.

Upon discovery of a clerical oversight, the firm attempted to rectify the situation with the state and as of April 9, the firm has regained its good financial status.

Mueller, Walla and Albertson, 9200 Watson Road, neglected to file annual registration papers for 2003 and administratively dissolved Feb. 19, according to the Missouri Secretary of State's office.

The firm, which was established in 1993, had not filed an annual report since May 13, 2002. However, neither the firm nor the school district discovered the firm's dissolution until two weeks ago.

Upon this newspaper's inquiry about the firm's financial status two weeks ago, Superintendent Tim Ricker told the Call he would look into the matter, but was not aware that Mueller, Walla and Robertson had dissolved.

"We found out at 1 p.m. today," firm President Richard Albertson told the Call, who had been notified by school district officials after an interview with the Call April 2. "Apparently the state was sending forms to our old address on Manchester Road, but they were never forwarded to our current address."

At the beginning of 2003, according to Albertson, a partner left the firm and the company later relocated from Kirkwood to its current location on Watson Road.

But the state continued to send documentation to the former partner listed at the firm's prior Kirkwood address.

A reminder notice was sent to its old address, he said, but since the company never received the registration papers, an annual report for 2003 never was filed. The reminder notice was sent Nov. 13, according to the Secretary of State's Web site.

The state automatically dissolved Mueller, Walla and Albertson and the company was not in good standing.

"It was an error — just a clerical error from a mailing standpoint," Albertson said.

The firm had been in contact with the state, he said, sent in the appropriate paperwork and anticipated it would take between four to six days to process. Once the firm was notified and then paid an annual fee, it would be reinstated, the firm's president said.

Mueller, Walla and Albertson has performed Mehlville's annual audits since the 1997-1998 school year. On Dec. 15, the Board of Education approved Mehlville's 2003 audit, conducted by the firm, which cost the district $12,500.

During a presentation to the board last year, Albertson cited "no reportable conditions," "no instances of non-compliance" and "no audit findings" related to the 2003 audit.

Asked if the firm's dissolution would have any effect on Mehlville's recent audit, the district's assistant superintendent of finance and chief financial officer, Randy Charles, told the Call April 2, "No ... It's just a matter of paperwork ... But it is not a firm in good standing."

The firm's status, however, could have had an effect on its future relationship with the district, Charles told the Call two weeks ago. The district is scheduled to open a bidding process for its auditing services April 19, which could have posed timing issues for the auditing firm, Charles said.

"There is no doubt that they are still very capable," but with the bids opening next week, he added, "They're not in good standing. We'll have to consider that. That's only fair."

After a special visit to Jefferson City April 9, Albertson told the Call, all the proper paperwork had been submitted and processed and the company was in good financial standing with the state.

He said the firm planned on attempting to continue its relationship with the district.

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