An investigation by State Auditor Rob Sand’s office has found the former city clerk in Promise City used the small town’s money to pay almost $10,000 worth of her own utility bills and to make $17,000 worth of improper purchases at Walmart.
Promise City is in south central Iowa and, according to the 2020 Census, it has 88 residents. The special investigation covered many of the years that Debra Eccleston was the city clerk. The report identifies more than $59,000 in what is described as improper and unsupported spending.
Auditors concluded Eccleston’s approved salary during the period was about $13,000, but cancelled checks indicate she was paid about twice that. According to the investigation by the state auditor’s office. Eccelston used city money to buy books and food at Walmart. Promise City doesn’t have a library, but the report notes Eccelston ran a coffee shop and book store in Centerville.
Auditors reviewed Alliant Energy records and determined Eccelston used Promise City money to pay utility bills for her Centerville business and her own residence.
Promise City officials asked for the investigation after Eccelston resigned and the newly-hired city clerk raised concerns after reviewing cancelled checks and accounting records.