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Lebanon: Grand jury to hear clerk case

Lebanon Supervisor James Goldstein said he thought there was something wrong in the town clerk's office in the summer of 2005. He said he didn't think it was a money problem, just an organizational problem.

Goldstein's concerns put in motion a process that led to the former town clerk and tax collector Ashli Scott being charged with third-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records.

"[Scott] was cutting back her hours and was behind in her work," Goldstein said. "I was receiving minor complaints of things not getting done... correspondence, documents not being processed, minutes not being done timely."

Goldstein said he brought his concerns to Scott, who reassured him she would address his concerns.

"But she is an elected official," Goldstein said. "The board doesn't have the authority to force her to do anything."

Goldstein said Scott contested former town clerk Dee Keller in 2003. Her platform, he said, was largely based on expanded office hours and availability. He said it was a close race. Keller took a full-time job at the Madison County Solid Waste Department in June 2004, and after advertising and canvassing for candidates, Scott was appointed to finish Keller's term.

"Once it was clear she was unopposed for [the 2005 regular election for a two-year term], I noticed a real slacking off," Goldstein said.

Goldstein said Scott kept her word about expanding availability for about a year.

"She did a good job," Goldstein said. "She seemed organized and efficient."

On Christmas Eve 2005, there was a break-in at the town hall. The doors were kicked in, and Goldstein said minor vandalism was carried out.

"They broke into the clerk's office and took petty cash and some records," Goldstein said.

Goldstein said members of the town board perform an

internal audit of the justice and town clerk each year.

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