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County sues district attorney; DA calls CAO and auditor ‘out of control’

Delaine Fragnoli
Managing Editor

The County of Plumas filed suit last week in Plumas Superior Court against District Attorney Jeff Cunan, alleging he did not follow proper procedure with funds from the bad check diversion program.

The county is seeking payment from Cunan of $14,771.55 and any other funds a complete audit may uncover.

"This is the latest example of fiscal waste by (county auditor) Shawn Montgomery and (County Administrative Officer) Jack Ingstad and their need to find scapegoats,” said Cunan. “I used district attorney monies solely for district attorney services in a way that saved Plumas County taxpayers thousands of dollars.  There was no mishandling of money whatsoever. This claim establishes that the CAO and the auditor are now officially out of control."

According to court papers, the bad check diversion program had at least $12,160.47 that Cunan assumed from his predecessor when he took office Dec. 31, 2002.

After taking office and continuing through May 13, 2010, Cunan collected more than $22,255.39 in funds for the bad check program.

The problem, according to the county’s complaint, is that the funds sat in a bank account first at Placer Savings and then at Plumas Bank, when they should have been deposited into the county treasury.

The county alleges checks drawn on or withdrawals from the account occurred outside the county appropriations process and, thus, did not have the blessing of the Board of Supervisors.

Withdrawals and checks on the account from Dec. 31, 2002, to May 13, 2010, totaled at least $14,771.55 — the amount the county is seeking from Cunan.

Cunan had “no authority” to make those expenditures said Ingstad. “They constitute a gift of public funds. Many of them would not have been approved if they had been part of the budget process.”

Court papers note that it was Cunan who brought the existence of the account to the attention of Plumas County Auditor Shawn Montgomery.

The court papers also note that Cunan made a closing withdrawal of $19,960.22 from the Plumas Bank account on or about May 13, 2010, which he paid over to the Plumas County treasurer.

A management conference for the case is scheduled May 9, 2011, in Plumas Superior Court.




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