A special investigation by the state auditor’s office has found a fired county employee in southeast Iowa submitted inflated and sometimes fake claims for nearly $218,000 in pay and reimbursement for expenses.
Forty-three-year-old Jodi Sutter was an environmental specialist who tested wells and inspected restaurants for Henry County. Sutter was fired in February of last year. She sued the county for wrongful termination and back wages. Auditors found she was overpaid by nearly $160,000 in salary. Sutter was paid about $30,000 more for an intern who did not exist.
The report indicates Sutter was also reimbursed for travel to out-of-state conferences she did not attend. Sutter’s lawsuit alleges she was unfairly categorized as a contract employee and denied benefits, like paid time off.
Sutter’s attorney released a statement from Sutter to The Des Moines Register. Sutter said there are “substantial gaps” in the report from the state auditor’s office that “call into question its findings.”