Archive for Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Court orders full audit on library funds

Former librarian disagrees with city on total amount of funds misused

October 29, 2003

During a court hearing on Friday, the former director of Tonganoxie Public Library pushed for a jury trial.

But court officials explained that a jury trial would be conducted only to determine whether Beckie Borella, 45, Tonganoxie, was guilty of felony misuse of public funds.

And that's a moot point, according to Frank Kohl, Leavenworth County attorney. He said a jury trial isn't necessary because Borella already has admitted she used library funds to purchase personal items.

"It's not whether something happened, but how much was taken," Kohl said.

Borella contends she misused $726 of library money, while library board members say they have identified about $17,000 in funds that were diverted for Borella's personal use before she left the directorship in April.

To settle the dispute about the amount of money -- which will be the amount of money Borella will be ordered to repay to the library -- Kohl requested that the judge appoint an independent accounting firm to comb through the library's financial records.

Borella initially disagreed with that request, but she eventually changed her mind.

Borella, who on Friday pled no contest to the misuse of public funds charge, will appear in Leavenworth County District Court again at 9 a.m. Nov. 21.

Meanwhile, Leavenworth accountant Steve Wagner will audit the library board's records for the court. The cost of the review will be assessed to Borella.

The library board actually hired its own auditor earlier in the year. Lowenthal, Singleton, Webb and Wilson from Lawrence, did a basic audit that showed $2,200 in questionable checks. The library paid $500 for that review. Assistant city administrator Kathy Bard said the library did not want to proceed with a full audit because that would have cost about $5,000.

Later, board members reviewed the books and arrived at the $17,000 figure.

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