Spending of Central Iowa Town Now Focus of Criminal Investigation
Things smell very dirty in a small Iowa town where huge amounts of money appear to have been mishandled.
According to KCCI, a criminal investigation has been started by the Story County Sheriff's Office after approximately $90,000 of apparent impropriety was uncovered in a state audit. The city in question is the small central Iowa town of McCallsburg, that has a population of just 318.
A state audit that was released today says that utility bills were either not collected or were reduced improperly for dozens of people that live in the small town. Among those that appeared to benefit were homes owned by Councilwoman LeAnne Hazen and the town's mayor, Chris Erickson. The total amount of money involved? A whopping $47,510.
What Did the Audit Uncover with Utility Bills?
Over almost two years, from 2017 to 2019, Mayor Erickson didn't make any utility payments. During that same time frame, Councilwoman Hazen didn't pay a utility bill for a year-and-a-half. Both are on the ballot for re-election in next Tuesday's election.
Improper Disbursements of Money
KCCI says the audit also showed well over $30,000 in improper disbursements. Nearly 80 percent of that money went to Jennifer Heithoff, the former City Clerk of McCallsburg. It also showed over $4,500 was given in pay increases to people who work for the city... raises that weren't in accordance with Iowa state law. There was also almost $800 in improper charges to an account at Staples.
City officials requested an audit by the state after Heithoff resigned in the summer of 2019. The audit found that between 2014 and 2019, almost $90,000 was either improperly spent or mishandled by the city of McCallsburg.
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