The Madison County grand jury heard evidence last week in the case of former Lebanon Town Clerk/Tax Collector Ashli Scott. The body handed down a sealed indictment April 17, charging Scott with third-degree grand larceny and defrauding the government in connection with money missing from the town of Lebanon during her tenure there.
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.
The town board's concerns and subsequent request for the Office of the State Comptroller to perform an audit put in motion a process that led state police to charge Scott with third-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records Feb. 16.
Goldstein said Scott seemed to start out on the right foot after being appointed in August of 2004. She replaced Dee Keller who had accepted a full-time job with the county.
"She did a good job," Goldstein said. "She seemed organized and efficient."
He said once it was clear she was unopposed for the 2005 regular election for a two-year term, he noticed a real slacking off.
"[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."
On Christmas Eve 2005, there was a break-in, theft and vandalism at the town hall.
"They broke into the clerk's office and took petty cash and some records," Goldstein said.
The missing records made it difficult for the town to get a handle on what might really be going on in the clerk's office.