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Last updated on Tuesday, March 6, 2012
(BLOOMINGTON) - The State Board of Accounts is demanding a former Monroe County township trustee repay more than $95,000 after an audit revealed questionable expenditures involving family members.
Benton Township Trustee Heather Cohee stepped down last week amid criticism that she hired her husband and daughter to perform tens of thousands of dollars of work for the township without proper documentation.
The Attorney General's Office said on Monday that it will likely file a civil lawsuit against Cohee to recover the public funds, as well as a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to freeze her financial assets.
According to the audit, Cohee hired her husband, Todd, also a Monroe County Sheriff's deputy, to perform jobs such as cemetery mowing, parking lot paving, snow removal and landscaping.
Auditors said she also hired her daughter, Brittany, to do regular cleanings for the township, but the trustee had little documentation to support where the money actually went.
Todd Cohee served as the Township Clerk and Brittany Cohee served as the Township Assistance Clerk.
Auditors said Heather Cohee repeatedly did not file a conflict of interest statement for her husband or her daughter, which is a Class D felony.
Heather Cohee would not return phone calls to discuss her resignation or the audit.
Daniele Coe is handing the books for now, while the township board figures out the next steps.
Board member Lynn Stevens says the board would do everything possible to get the taxpayers' money back, and said they scheduled an emergency meeting Monday night to discuss options.
As for criminal charges, the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office has not commented on the case.
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