Former Guthrie Township Trustee Robert Awbrey Named In Civil Suit By Indiana Attorney General’s Office

(LEESVILLE) – The State of Indiana Attorney General’s Office has filed a motion seeking a default judgment against former Guthrie Township Trustee Robert Awbrey who was arrested and charged with official misconduct and theft in July 2019.

Former Guthrie Twp. Trustee Robert Awbrey

In the court filing, the state is seeking $85,104.19 which includes damages caused by Awbrey and the cost of the investigation.

A motion for default judgment was filed in Lawrence Circuit Court against Awbrey on March 13, 2020. The complaint filed by the Indiana State Attorney General’s Office specifies the amount of money Awbrey was overpaid in the course of his duties as Guthrie Township Trustee.

The State of Indiana completed an audit on September 10, 2019 of his Trustee’s salary which was supposed to be $4,200 from 2016 – 2018. According to the audit Awbrey was overpaid $1,656.67 in 2016, overpaid $4,758.50 in 2017, and overpaid $8,263.29 in 2018. The total over-payment in salary was $14,678.46.

The audit also found Awbrey was overpaid in office rent for three years. According to the audit, he was overpaid $600 in 2016 and 2017 respectively with a total over-payment of $1,200.

The audit states that there were thirteen checks written to Awbrey from May 14, 2016 to September 3, 2018, totaling more than $10,233.88 without any supporting documentation for reimbursement for travel, office supplies, forms, and other unidentified items.

The only supporting documentation for these checks written to Awbrey was written on the memo line of the check. On eight of those thirteen checks, the memo was unclear for what the township services Awbrey was receiving reimbursement for.

  • 2016: Travel Reimbursement – $400
  • 2016: Unidentified Reimbursement – – $380

Total Reimbursement 2016 – $780

  • 2017: Travel Reimbursement – $377.12
  • 2017: Office supplies, Forms, Reimbursement: – $907.09
  • 2017 : Unidentified Reimbursement: – $5,459.77

Total Reimbursement 2017 – $6,743.98

There was no official bond obtained while Awbrey remained in office. Indiana State Law requires a bond under Indiana Code IC. 5-4-1-9 which states: “An officer required to give an official bond shall give the bond before the commencement of office. If that officer fails to give that bond before that time, the officer may not take office.”

According to the state’s audit, the over-payment was due to malfeasance and/ or nonfeasance and totaled $32,879.51.

The total owed to the State of Indiana includes the following:

  • Overpaid Compensation – $14,678.46
  • Overpaid Office Rent – $1,200
  • 13 Checks with no supporting documentation – $10,233.88
  • Cost of Investigation of by State Board of Accounts – $6,767.17
  • Additional Treble damages in the amount of – $52,224.68
  • Attorney fees and post-judgment of eight percent interest
  • Total judgment cost: $85,104.19

A jury trial for the criminal case against Robert Awbrey has been set for June 17, 2020 in Lawrence Superior Court at 8:30 a.m. Awbrey is being represented by local Attorney Scott Callahan.