Mountain Park_The former city clerk in the Kiowa County town of Mountain Park is accused of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the city. The clerk had been suspended pending a full audit of the books. This small town has been affected with more than just a loss of cash.
The money was discovered missing when the IRS called regarding non-payment. Mountain Park Mayor Janie Strutton says it hasn't been easy dealing with the situation. She says she trusted the City Clerk, Kimberly Morris, to collect money and make sure all of the town's bills were paid. "We got a little concerned and then we started getting questions from other vendors that had not been paid. So we got a little suspicious," said Strutton.
So, Morris was put on suspension and they had a state auditor come and look at the books. There, they found some big problems. "The state audit showed that there was more money taken in than there was deposited," Strutton said. The difference was just over $70,000 in missing money. And, this was the first audit that had been done in three years.
"And until they [the audits] are completed, we won't receive any grant money of any type. The fire department, senior citizens - anything connected with the town. So it's hurt us in a lot of ways," said Strutton. She says the town is working hard to get back on its feet. "We've made a lot of progress already. We have three that are fairly large but they're all working with us to allow us to make payment on those, to get those corrected," she said. "We're a very small town and a lot of these people I've known my entire life. And I feel really bad because it's damaged the entire town, not just a few. It's hurt everybody."