The Iowa Attorney General’s Office filed a “Petition for Removal from Office” today in Dallas County District Court against Sheriff Brian Gilbert. Bob Brammer is a spokesman for the A-G’s office. Brammer says they’ve asked the Dallas County Court to remove Gilbert from office based on the Iowa code which provides several reasons a public official can be removed.
Brammer says there is ample reason to request that Gilbert be removed from office. He says the petition for removal is pretty closely tied to the State Auditor’s report issued today that cites concerns about how large sums of money and other evidence were handled in the Sheriff’s office — including a sum of money seized by Dallas County authorities during a traffic stop in March of this year. Brammer says the removal from office is a civil action that is separate from the criminal charges Gilbert faces in connection with the missing money from the March seizure.
Brammer says the A-G’s office alleges, “Willful or habitual neglect or refusal to perform the duties of the office of Sheriff, willful misconduct or maladministration in the office of Sheriff, and corruption in the office of Sheriff. ” Brammer says a hearing on the removal of Gilbert has been set for 9 A.M. Monday, October 16th.
State Auditor David Vaudt says he report came out of a special investigation of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office covering the period from January 1, 2002 through July 5, 2006. Vaudt says they found 20 cases where the amount of cash in the seized records was not in agreement with the amount in the evidence room when they did an inventory. He says there was a total of about 60-thousand dollars in cash missing.
Vaudt says there were other discrepancies in the seized items listed in reports and the items that were on hand in the evidence room. Vaudt say there were five cases where weapons were seized, but no weapons or records of where the weapons went. Vaudt says there were similar cases of missing drugs and jewelry and clothing that had been seized, but the items weren’t in the evidence room and there were not records of where the items went. Vaudt says the discrepancies were too great to be simple accounting errors.
Vaudt says there are always errors made in anything involving humans, but he says in this instance, six percent of the cases they reviewed had problems. They looked at 825 cases and there were 48 that had discrepancies that could not be explained. Vaudt says there were another 62 cases were the case files had just disappeared.
Vaudt says his office also subpoenaed the bank records of the Sheriff, his wife, and all deputies who had access to the seized cash. Vaudt says they found that the sheriff and his wife had made a little over 16-thousand dollars in cash deposits over a four-year period, and had also made cash purchases of some 13-thousand dollars. Vaudt says the cash purchases made by the sheriff and his wife were large and not common. Vaudt says in one example, a five-thousand dollar cash deposit was put down for a car purchase, and some other things that he describes as “pretty untypical cash transactions.”
Brammer says the removal of a public official from the job is rare in Iowa, although this is the second such action in the last two months. The Attorney General had begun the process to seek the removal of Des Moines City Councilman Archie Brooks from his council seat based on “maladministration of office” for Brooks’ involvement in a central Iowa job training agency scandal. Brooks resigned from the city council August 7th, before the removal could move forward.