Former Traill County, ND, water official to change plea
HILLSBORO, N.D. -- A Jan. 20 change of plea hearing has been set for the former Traill Rural Water District manager, who was charged earlier this year with a felony offense after investigators say he mismanaged more than $10,000 in funds related ...
HILLSBORO, N.D. - A Jan. 20 change of plea hearing has been set for the former Traill Rural Water District manager, who was charged earlier this year with a felony offense after investigators say he mismanaged more than $10,000 in funds related to a multimillion-dollar Traill County water project.
A final dispositional hearing was held in Traill County District Court last week for Jerome Olson, who was charged in August with one count of misapplication of entrusted property, a Class B felony.
The change of plea hearing is scheduled at 11 a.m. Jan. 20. A restitution hearing is planned at the same time, Traill County State's Attorney Stuart Larson said Monday.
Larson declined to comment on terms of a potential plea agreement.
If convicted of the Class B felony, Olson could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
Olson was manager of the Traill Rural Water District until he resigned in February 2014 after directors learned that the district had lost at least tens of thousands of dollars in revenue over a four-month period.
Investigators accuse Olson of mismanaging between $10,000 and $50,000 in funds related to the $25 million joint water project between the cities of Mayville and Hillsboro, according to a criminal complaint filed in court and signed by North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation Agent Jeremie Quam.
The water project was partially funded by a $3.4 million loan obtained by the water district in January 2009 from the North Dakota Public Finance Authority, a state agency that makes loans to political entities in North Dakota, according to the complaint.
Through a joint powers agreement, the Traill water district and the cities of Hillsboro and Mayville were required to make payments on the loan.
As a requirement of the $3.4 million loan, the debtors were supposed to make payments into a reserve fund that generally was not to be touched.
Quam wrote he could not find certain transfers by the Traill Rural Water District into that fund, saying the district should have made payments of about $2,300 per month for five years beginning September 2011 into such a fund, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges Olson instead spent more than $10,000 of the restricted funds without proper clearances.
The complaint does not detail how Olson allegedly mismanaged the funds.