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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 22, 2017

Wulfekuhle faces first-degree theft, other charges

Charges stem from his time as Fairfield park and recreation director
By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Jul 03, 2017

Former Fairfield Parks and Recreation director Derik Wulfekuhle, who resigned his post in March of 2016, is facing several charges including first-degree theft, which is a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and ongoing criminal conduct, a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. He also faces non-felonious misconduct in office, which is a serious misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

This comes after an audit conducted by the Iowa State Auditor’s Office revealed that he misspent more than $28,000 in city funds over several years.

The special investigation of the parks and recreation department covered a period of May 1, 2009 through March 7, 2016, the date Wulfekuhle resigned.

Iowa State Auditor Mary Mosiman released the report on Friday, and Wulfekuhle was subsequently charged.

According to the report, Wulfekuhle admitted to using the city’s Visa credit card for personal purchases, and that $18,882.24 of the improper disbursements identified included purchases made to various vendors such as iTunes and Amazon. Another $1,179.74 was used for retail vendors and a grocery store. Sufficient supporting documentation was not available to determine the propriety of the $9,422.26 of unsupported disbursements identified.

“Only around $18,000 could be substantiated through the audit. Another $9,000 is questionable,” said Jefferson County attorney Tim Dille, explaining that anything more than $10,000 would incur the charges. “Friday, he was summoned to appear before the magistrate. He will do that in Jefferson County.”

Dille said that, Wulfekuhle, whose last known address was in Dubuque, was not arrested, but will be summoned to appear in court July 25.

“The magistrate does the initial appearance; that’s the first step in the process,” Dille said.

Fairfield city administrator Mike Harmon initiated the investigation in early March of 2016 after he realized accounting discrepancies with the Fairfield Parks and Recreation Department.

“I contacted the Fairfield Police Department, city attorney John Morrissey as well as the chair of the [city] personnel committee, Michael Halley,” Harmon said, adding that he reported the discrepancies prior to Wulfekuhle’s resignation.

“The [Jefferson County] Sheriff’s Office ended up investigating it because of a conflict with the [Fairfield] Police Department,” Dille said.

The police department and the parks and recreation department are both city entities.

The Ledger contacted the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, but were unable to reach anyone prior to press time.

“We were assisting the sheriff’s office on that,” said Fairfield Police chief Dave Thomas, adding that Lt. Julie Harvey of the police department assisted Lt. Jerry Marcellus of the sheriff’s office.

“Almost immediately the state was asked to come in,” Thomas said. “There have been a lot of agencies involved and a lot of cooperation….”

The Ledger was unable to contact Wulfekuhle’s attorney Paul Miller by press time. But according to an Associated Press article, Miller said that Wulfekuhle intends to pay back the money, and he has been cooperating with authorities. The Ledger will have more updates on this story as they become available.

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