NEW HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) — The former general manager of a municipal power plant in northeastern Iowa kept more than $55,000 in proceeds from the sale of scrap metal over the last decade, handing out $1,000 to employees last year and taking or misspending the rest, auditors said Friday.
State Auditor David Vaudt's office launched a special investigation into the New Hampton Municipal Light Plant in May after learning that eight employees received $1,000 cash from the sale of excess scrap metal.
The employees returned the money or paid it back during the investigation, but auditors said in a report released Friday they found that general manager Brian Geschke had been failing to deposit cash from scrap metal sales dating back to at least 2001. The report also found that Geschke improperly kept $5,755 in reimbursements from the North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association, a group he served as president, for travel and conference expenses the city had already paid.
Geschke, who was hired to oversee the plant in 1994, resigned in August. No phone number could be found for Geschke, and his attorney didn't immediately respond to a phone message Friday seeking comment.
Floyd County Attorney Normand Klemesrud said he was reviewing the report and considering "what criminal charges, if any, to bring and against whom." He said he expected to make a decision within two weeks in the case, which was referred to his office from Chickasaw County prosecutors because of a conflict of interest.
The plant, which provides electricity to residents and businesses, collected scrap metal such as copper and aluminum as its workers replaced electrical wires following storm damage or routine city maintenance projects. When a storage room got full, chief operations supervisor Gregory Heying would call a company to remove it in exchange for payments that were usually in cash, the audit said.
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