Audit questions $9,000 in expenses: Public employee repays district for personal purchases, still on job

A state audit of Jackson County Soil and Water Conservation District shows its only employee misused district funds between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2011.

Rebecca Lauster of Brownstown, who remains on the job, has repaid the district $13,607.22, including $4,535.74 for the cost of a state Board of Accounts audit.

Lauster said Tuesday she committed no wrongdoing and said she was not required to repay the district. She confirmed she met with a state auditor June 19 and discussed the audit.

“They audit us every few years,” Lauster said.

Todd Austin with the state Board of Accounts Support Unit confirmed Lauster repaid the district.

A summary of financial charges that was filed with the audit states Lauster paid the district $10,816.62 with a money order on Aug. 15 as well as two earlier payments for a total of $13,607.22.

Lauster was asked to repay a number of personal charges on the district’s accounts, including phone charges, personal travel charges in Florida and California and other purchases, according to the audit.

Tim Hoevener, president of the district board of supervisors, said Wednesday the Soil and Water Conservation District board will meet soon to discuss the audit, its findings and Lauster’s role in the use and accounting of district funds.

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