Archive for Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Ex-director ordered to pay

Judge rules library due $19,887 for improper transactions

March 17, 2004

Former Tonganoxie Library director Beckie Borella has been ordered to repay nearly $22,000 to the library.

Leavenworth County District Judge Frederick Stewart on Friday ordered Borella to pay the full amount uncovered in an independent audit conducted by Leavenworth accountant Steve Wagner.

Last June, Borella was charged with one count of misuse of public funds. Four months later, she pled no contest to the charge.

But Borella, who had been Tonganoxie librarian for six years, disputed prosecutors' claims about how much of the library's money she had converted to personal use. She said she thought she had only spent about $700 of the library's funds.

So Wagner was asked to perform the audit, which uncovered $19,887 in suspect purchases and bank account withdrawals. On Friday, the judge also ordered Borella to pay $1,825 to cover the cost of Wagner's audit, bringing the total she owes at $21,702, along with court costs and attorneys fees.

According to the audit, which analyzed transactions from Jan. 1, 2001, to April 5, 2003, Borella made numerous questionable financial transactions.

Using an MBNA credit card, Borella charged nearly $7,000 in suspect purchases. That included an airline ticket for $169, and payment of $553 to Casey's General Store, $662 to Enterprise Leasing, $742 at Kmart and $742 to Roach Hardware. Borella also made charges totaling $4,962 with a Wal-Mart credit card.

A petty cash withdrawal Borella made totaled $375. She also withdrew a total of $250 from three bank deposits in 2002.

The judge placed Borella on 18 months' probation, during which ime she is expected to repay the library and cover the audit costs. If she violates the terms of her probation, she will be ordered to serve eight months in prison, according to Deborah Owens of the Leavenworth County attorney's office.

Owens said Borella's probation officer will figure court costs and attorney fees along with the restitution amount and divide that by 18 to determine Borella's monthly costs. Owens said the judge likely would not revoke probation if Borella makes attempts each month to pay.

The library saga began last April when Tonganoxie police initiated an investigation into the misuse of funds. They're findings uncovered at least $5,000 in suspect usage, but the amount increased substantially after the library board reviewed the library's books and then again recently when Wagner provided the audit.

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