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July 23, 2012 05:45 PM

Lyon Co., IA Employees Face Charges

Rock Rapids, IA

Nine Lyon County, Iowa, employees are facing criminal charges and two of them have been fired.

It all started with an investigation into 58-year-old County Engineer Jeff Williams, and that investigation uncovered another case of employees lining their pockets with cash.

The Lyon County, Iowa, Board of Supervisors is now looking to surrounding counties for help with road projects this summer after they fired Williams for conducting septic system inspections for the county and keeping the money.

"We received some information from some people that had written some personal checks to him and upon checking the revenues, the county found the revenue had disappeared," Lyon County Sheriff Blythe Bloemendaal said.

Bloemendaal believes Williams took between $5,000 and $7,000 over the past few years.

But that investigation led to another probe into missing county money.  Todd Huisman, 51, of Rock Rapids, has been fired for selling scrap metal from the county shop and pocketing nearly $10,000 over the past eight years.

"The second investigation information came to us that revenues are missing along with county property. We found out that some of the county employees have been selling the scrap metal, the signs, the old batteries, stuff like that and then keeping the money for themselves," Bloemendaal said.

Four other George, Iowa, employees, 53-year-old Gerald Grave Jr., 55-year-old Robert Gruis, 58-year-old Rickie Denekas and Lyon County Board of Supervisors member Mike Modder are also charged with carrying out a similar crime.

"They find somebody who will buy it and write them a personal check for it and they split it up," Bloemendaal said.

Three other employees, 51-year-old Gary Vogel, 45-year-old Steve Ageson, and 53-year-old Lorna VanMaanen are also charged with knowing about the sale of scrap metal for cash and not reporting it.

County officials say despite the charges and the firings, they are still going to work to make sure all of the road projects continue to get done in the county.

Monday, the Board of Supervisors talked about working with surrounding counties like Osceola and Sioux Counties to help with the work.

"It's obviously disappointing when you uncover some impropriety in any office, and we as a county will work through that and move on," Lyon County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Bosch said.

Bloemendaal says the sale of scrap metal for cash wasn't going on at every shop in the county, but in some cases, he believes it could have been going on for as long as 28 years.

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