State auditor investigating missing funds in Mower County
AUSTIN — The Mower County auditor/treasurer department is being investigated by state and local authorities for missing funds.
According to Doug Groh, the county auditor/treasurer, $500 in cash was reported missing from the cash box at the office window on October 11, 2012. After being unable to reconcile the issue, a transfer from the department's change fund covered the shortage as a short-term fix before Groh reported the incident to the county during his salary review a few weeks later.
That revelation has resulted in a probe from Kathy Docter, assistant director of special investigation for the Office of the State Auditor. However, Groh says Docter attempted to circumvent his authority by conducting interviews of his staff without contacting him directly, which has put them "at odds from that point."
Additionally, the Freeborn County Sheriff's Office has opened its own investigation, at the request of Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi. Freeborn County deputies conducted interviews last week, but sheriff Bob Kindler declined comment Tuesday on the open, ongoing investigation.
Mower County attorney Kristen Nelsen also declined comment, as did Mower County commissioners, per legal advice.
The missing funds and ensuing investigation was revealed prior to Tuesday's regular county board meeting during Groh's department report. He was initially hesitant to release information, citing the fact media was present in the audience, but then provided details anyway.