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Questionable Spending Leads to Arrest of Former Ayrshire City Clerk

By Staff | Jun 17, 2020

by Joseph Schany

On Tuesday, June 9, the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office arrested Alesha Elizabeth Olson, 28, of Ayrshire, charging her with Theft in the 2nd degree, a Class “D” felony, and Forgery, an aggravated misdemeanor.

The charges stemmed from a special investigation of the City of Ayrshire that found more than $10,000 in improper and unsupported spending by the former city clerk.

The investigation was requested by City officials as a result of concerns regarding certain financial transactions processed by Olson from September 1, 2018 through February of this year.

In a newly-released state audit report, Rob Sand, State Auditor, identified $9,807.32 of improper disbursements and a $582.10 unsupported disbursement. The $9,807.32 of improper disbursements identified includes $9,084.11 of unauthorized checks issued to Olson, $125.84 of excess IPERS’ contributions made by the City on behalf of Olson, and $509.87 for Christmas gatherings for the City Council members, the Mayor, and their significant others. Sand also reported the improper disbursements identified includes $87.50 of penalties, late fees, and interest paid to the State of Iowa and IPERS.

The $582.10 unsupported disbursement identified was a reimbursement check to Olson for printer ink which was not supported by sufficient documentation.. According to Sand, because the reimbursement was not supported by sufficient documentation to determine the type and quantity of items purchased, it was not possible to determine if the payment was for reimbursement of items purchased for City operations or personal in nature.

Sand recommended City officials implement procedures to ensure the City’s internal controls are strengthened, including segregation of duties, performing independent review of bank reconciliations, and ensuring all disbursements are properly supported, approved, and paid in a timely manner.

City officials declined to comment at this time.

Read the full article in The Reporter.