Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

April 22, 2014

Prosecutor: No charges against former county auditor

By Boris Ladwig Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG — A special prosecutor has decided not to file criminal charges against former Decatur County Auditor Bridgett Weber.

After a special investigation, a state agency alleged that Weber had violated state law in 2011 when she increased her salary and the salary of five deputies in her office by a combined $37,500 without approval from the Decatur County Council.

The Indiana State Board of Accounts, which audits governmental units including cities, counties and schools, alleged that Weber, who now serves as Greensburg clerk-treasurer, took money from the Plat Book Maintenance Fund to pay herself an additional $17,000, and five deputies an additional $20,500 beyond what the Council had approved in its salary ordinance

Ripley County Prosecutor Richard J. Hertel on Monday filed his decision with Decatur Circuit Court not to pursue charges. Hertel was appointed as special prosecutor in February.

“Based on the information I have reviewed and the conversations I have had, combined with statements made by county officials to the local media, I will not be pursuing criminal charges at this point in time,” Hertel wrote.

Weber, who has reached an agreement with the Attorney General’s office to repay $14,266.96, had said she had received verbal approval from the County Council in 2010 to increase her salary with money from a fund that is not supported by property tax receipts. County Council President Ernie Gauck said Weber misunderstood the Council’s instructions concerning the salaries in the auditor’s office.

Gauck had said that given that Weber has agreed to pay back the money, no criminal prosecution was needed. Weber, too, said that she had no criminal intent.

Hertel wrote that he read the SBOA’s report, talked to a state employee involved in the investigation and reviewed the promissory note between Weber and the attorney general’s office, which requires Weber in four installments to pay back the money she was overpaid. Hertel also noted that Weber had paid the first installment.

Weber said Monday that she was pleased with Hertel’s decision for personal reasons and because it spared the community the expenses related to a potential court case.

“I’m relieved,” Weber said.

Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401; boris.ladwig@greensburgdailynews.com