Former And Current Lyon County Employees Face Trials, Penalties For Alleged Misconduct In Office

Date posted - November 14, 2012

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Two of eight Lyon County employees face upcoming trials after authorities say five of them sold scrap iron belonging to the county and the others let it happen; and the former county engineer faces trial on other allegations of misconduct.

Former county employee and current county supervisor 59-year-old Michael Modder of George was accused of selling county-owned iron and splitting the proceeds with other employees. He has pled not guilty and according to court records, faces a trial on December 4th. Modder was defeated in the election and his seat will go to Mark Behrens of George.

Fifty-one-year-old Todd Arthur Huisman of Rock Rapids was charged with Nonfelonious Misconduct in office for selling scrap iron and not turning the proceeds in to the County Auditor as revenue. He is also charged with one count of Misappropriation of Property (that’s theft in the second degree) which is a class D Felony. This charge was filed, alleging that Huisman received over $9000 from the sale of scrap iron, used batteries and aluminum signs which belonged to the county. Huisman also pled not guilty and faces trial on December 4th.

Other county employees involved in the illegal activity pled guilty and have been sentenced.

Lorna Van Maanen of Inwood was sentenced to a deferred judgment, one year probation, and a civil penalty of $315. She was also ordered to pay court costs and $200 in restitution.

The rest of the defendants were all sentenced to suspended 30-day jail terms and to pay fines of $315, court costs and surcharges, and varying amounts of restitution.

Robert Gruis and Rickie Denekas, both of George are to pay $500 restitution.

Gerald Grave Jr. of George is to pay $75 restitution.

Gary Vogel of Rock Rapids does not have to pay any restitution.

And Steve Ageson of Rock Rapids is to pay $600 restitution.

In a separate investigation conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department, former County Engineer Jeff Williams was charged with three counts of Nonfelonious Misconduct in Office for receiving training and equipment from Lyon County to preform septic tank inspections which he then conducted as a private business. He was also charged with Theft 2nd Degree, a class D Felony, for receiving proceeds exceeding $1000 in that business which should have been county revenue. He also pled not guilty. His attorney has asked for a change of venue as well. A pre-trial conference will be held on December 3rd, and according to court records, a trial is scheduled for February 10th, 2013.

According to Lyon County Auditor Wayne Grooters, Huisman and Williams no longer work for the county, and Modder’s Supervisor term will expire at the end of the year.

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3 Responses to “Former And Current Lyon County Employees Face Trials, Penalties For Alleged Misconduct In Office”

  1. If they are pleading innocent and found guilty, maybe the county should be renamed “Lying County”.

  2. Freeride says:

    Maybe all of them should be fired, not just a couple of them. I don’t know of many jobs where you can steal and lie and not get fired. It was kind of a good deal for them to be charged with nonfelonious theft so most of them could keep the county jobs and pensions.

  3. Ashshade says:

    This is being blown out of proportion. The selling of scrap by employees of shops both private and public has happened for years, as a little bonus for the employees. Not uncommon in the least.

    If a private shop wants to do that, fine. A county shop I don’t think should with the high scrap prices of today. 20 years ago (sounds like it was that long in this case) when scrap was not worth as much, it was more like letting the guys take the pop cans.

    It should have been stopped but, going whole hog on charging them in court is a little much.

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