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Special prosecutor investigating county audit

 

A special prosecutor from Evansville will be looking into the Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBA) audit that cites the county for misfeasance to see if any further action needs to be taken.

Former Vandenburgh County Prosecuting Attorney Stan Levco was named as special prosecutor in an order signed by LaGrange County Superior Court Judge George Brown Tuesday morning.

The special prosecutor was assigned at the request of LaGrange County Prosecutor Jeff Wible, who cited his relationship with the county commissioners and county attorney as the reason for the special prosecutor in this case.

Wible added that there is no timeline for the investigation and that Levco was mailed the documents on Tuesday for review.

Levco will review the state’s audit that was released in late December, as well as the county’s response to the findings in the audit.

The audit looked at land transactions done by the county commissioners and county attorney Kurt Bachman involving property along Oliver Lake, known as the Lambright Farm. The state’s report stated that in three different instances, actions by the county and Bachman amounted to “misfeasance,” which is defined as “an act that is legal but performed improperly.”

The audit also criticized Bachman for the conflict of interest disclosure statements filed. Bachman did file a number of conflict statements, but the SBA report alleges that some of the statements were deficient and/or some statements that were not filed properly should have been filed.

The allegations were all refuted by the county in a response dated Nov. 8, 2012 and hand-delivered that day to the SBA in Indianapolis. No part of the county response was included in the SBA audit report which was officially published Dec. 27 when it was posted on the State of Indiana website and mailed to County Prosecutor Jeff Wible. The county response was drafted by Ice Miller LLP, a law firm from Indianapolis, and Burt, Blee, Dixon, Sutton and Bloom, LLP of Ft. Wayne. The law firms requested an opportunity to meet with the SBA to discuss the issues prior to publication of the audit. That request was not acknowledged or granted.

Levco will report his findings back to the LaGrange County Superior Court, at which time it will be determined what action, if any, will be needed.