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Associated Press, Published November 21 2013

ND county accepts resignation of accused auditor

CARRINGTON, N.D. — The Foster County Commission has accepted the resignation of a county official accused of criminal misbehavior and is seeking a company to audit financial records.

County Auditor Roger Schlotman is charged with misapplication of entrusted property, conspiracy and tampering with public records, all felonies with a maximum punishment of five years in prison. Schlotman submitted his resignation Nov. 6 and the commission accepted it this week, The Jamestown Sun reported.

The lone dissenting vote was cast by commission Chairman James Carr, who also is charged. Schlotman resigned under "extreme conditions," Carr said.

"He's innocent until proven guilty," Carr said to Wells County State's Attorney Kathleen Murray, who is handling the case. "Have we ever proven him guilty?"

Commissioner Leslie Greger said Schlotman should be allowed to step down.

"Yes he's innocent until proven guilty, but he brought in a resignation," Greger said. "Let the courts decide."

The charges involve allegations of at least $13,000 in missing money and irregularities in meeting minutes, as well as a tax sale of a Carrington property that was not approved by the full commission.

Schlotman declined comment. Carr said he thinks he and Schlotman will be exonerated.

"The charges are pretty serious but it's mainly about being short money. I would have no idea how to get money out of the courthouse," he said.

The commission authorized Deputy Auditor Sarah Aberle to act as auditor until a temporary auditor can be named. That person would hold the position until the general election in 2014.

Paul Straley, vice chairman of the County Commission, will be looking for an audit firm. Murray recommended the county seek one experienced in forensic auditing.

"A forensic audit is a more detailed accounting than the regular annual audit," she said. "You need an accountant trained for forensic auditing."

Murray said the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation also is continuing to look into the matter.