A new state audit has confirmed the financial wrongdoing that led a group of county officials from northwest Iowa to plead guilty to a variety of charges earlier this year.
The audit found the actions of former Lyon County Engineer Jeffrey Williams cost his county more than $400,000 in losses from road resurfacing projects. Deputy State Auditor Warren Jenkins says Williams failed to bill cities in Lyon County for the costs of road improvements.
“The county many years ago adopted a policy that if the improvements were made within the city, the city would be billed 25 percent of the total cost,” Jenkins says. “That has not happened.”
The audit covered a six-year period and found the county paid about $404,000 more than it should have for those road projects.
The original investigation was prompted by a Lyon County resident who raised questions about the payment for the inspection of a septic system. The county engineer was accused of using county equipment to run a side business inspecting septic tanks. Williams pled guilty in January to second-degree theft and three counts of non-felonious misconduct in office.
The audit released today also identified almost $14,000 in payments that should have been deposited in Lyon County accounts.
“As I recall, we were asked to verify information to determine the extent of the problem once there was an identification that there was a problem,” Jenkins says.
The audit determined a few county employees sold more than $8000 worth of scrap metal and pocketed the profits. They sold aluminum signs that were owned by the county, too, and pocketed about $620.
Six employees in the county engineers office pled guilty to non-felonious misconduct in office. Charges against a seventh employee were later dropped. The Lyon County Roads Supervisor was fired last July and charged with second-degree theft. The other employees involved are still working for Lyon County, located in the far northwest corner of the state.
Lyon County is the home to the state’s newest casino, in Larchwood, and the 2010 Census indicated about 11,500 people lived in the county. Rock Rapids is the largest of the one dozen communities in Lyon County.