A special investigation by the state auditor’s office concludes the former city clerk in a small northwest Iowa town made more than $36,000 worth of “improper and unsupported” transactions with city money.
The City of Boyden has about 700 residents. The auditor’s review concludes former City Clerk Beth Sipma paid herself nearly $31,000 more than she should have during the 22 months she had the job. Sipma also made more than $3000 worth of personal purchases with the city’s money.
Auditors discovered she used the city’s credit card to buy United Airlines tickets to Scotland. Toward the end of her tenure, Sipma used a personal check to pay the monthly bill on the city’s credit card for those tickets. But she also appears to have gone on an overnight shopping trip to Minnesota at city expense — staying in a hotel, eating at a restaurant and buying items like a dresser, sheets and curtains at IKEA.
It was a banker who first noticed the unusual spending on Boyden’s city accounts and called the mayor. Sipma resigned shortly after city officials confronted her. The mayor told auditors Sipma admitted she had done a “terrible thing.”
The state auditor has forwarded the report on Sipma to state and county law enforcement.