Town officials: Clerk started taking money just days after taking office
During a Sept. 2 hearing, a St. Croix County judge ruled to suspend pay for town of St. Joseph Clerk-Treasurer Mary E. Stanley, whom other town officials have accused of misappropriating funds.
Judge Scott Needham also agreed to continue a restraining order that prohibits Stanley, who was elected in April, from exercising any of the duties of clerk and entering any town-owned property. He ordered her to return all town property in her possession by 5 p.m. Sept. 9.
Stanley did not attend the hearing held at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2.
Earlier in August, St. Joseph Town Chairman Dan Gavin filed a petition in civil court, asking that Stanley be removed from office.
The new clerk began stealing from the town a week after taking office and continued throughout the four months she was in office, alleges town attorney Catherine Munkittrick in a motion filed last week.
Allowing Stanley to perform the duties of clerk-treasurer "would put the town at great financial risk," claims Munkittrick.
She said the petition for removal for cause and affidavits from town officials "provide overwhelming evidence showing that Mary Stanley repeatedly and flagrantly stole public funds for her own personal use."
Munkittrick also said Stanley lied to the chairman, town supervisors and deputy clerk.
The town alleges Stanley forged Gavin's signature on a check for $2,367 issued to her a week after she took office on April 12. Gavin also says he doesn't believe that the signature on another check to Stanley is his.
In other new allegations, the town board claims Stanley opened a new town credit card in her own name, but never told the board about that card or provided statements for any bills on that card.
Gavin called the customer service number for the new card and obtained a list of recent transactions, including two charges for $500 each to a dental clinic although the town doesn't provide health or dental insurance to elected officials.
In an affidavit, Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Colleen Spaniol said she inspected the town's Quick Books system after Stanley left and saw that electronic check register records for payroll checks issued to Stanley were altered and now show that some of the checks were voided or deleted although bank records show they were cashed.
That original complaint also alleges Stanley used a town credit card for the unauthorized purchase of a laptop computer; failed to provide minutes of town board meetings; refused to attend and serve as clerk at meetings and to post town meetings, hearing and actions; and refused to cooperate with an audit of town financial records.
She is also accused of giving the combination for the lock on exterior doors of the town hall and fire hall to her husband, Perry Hecht.
A hearing on the petition to remove Stanley from office is set for 10:30 a.m. Oct. 4. Court records list no attorney for her.