CENTERVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Southern Iowa’s Appanoose County is suing a conservation foundation, seeking nearly $72,000 and the return of land deeded by the county to the foundation.
The Daily Iowegian reports the county filed two lawsuits earlier this month against fired Appanoose County Conservation Department director Mark Hoffman, his daughter and the department’s foundation, still run by Hoffman.
The department is responsible for oversight of the county’s natural resources, such as parks and campgrounds. Its foundation was created in 1994 to solicit gifts for the department’s conservation projects.
The lawsuits were filed about three months after a state audit found unchecked nepotism within the foundation and about $74,000 in improper payments and undeposited collections, including rent of county properties to members of Hoffman’s family.
The audit also questioned the transfer in 2013 of several parcels of county land to the foundation, free of charge, which were then sold by the foundation for $280,000.
The foundation and Hoffman have adamantly denied the county’s claims and the state auditor’s findings.
Information from: The Daily Iowegian, http://www.dailyiowegian.com