Police probe Hamilton County treasurer’s office allegations

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana State Police are investigating an allegation that clerks in the Hamilton County treasurer’s office accepted past-due property payments from family members and county workers without charging late fees.

The allegation was made by former employee Susan Byer in a wrongful termination suit filed last month against Hamilton County, Treasurer Jennifer Templeton and Deputy Treasurer Kim Good. Byer is seeking a maximum of $700,000 in damages against each. Hamilton County Commissioner Steve Dillinger told The Indianapolis Star that commissioners requested the state police investigation “for the sake of transparency,” not because they thought there was wrongdoing.

Byer said that Templeton and Good had approved the practice of marking late payments from government employees and their family as “on-time” so they could avoid fees. She said the practice suddenly ended in mid-2017, when officials in the office told staff it could be considered a felony. Byer said she was fired about eight months later, following concerns she would tell county oversight officials about the situation.

Dillenger said there was no basis for the lawsuit during a preliminary inquiry. He said there’s no evidence that Byer was harassed or unfairly disciplined.

“We don’t believe there is anything to what this disgruntled former employee claims, and thought, for the sake of transparency, we should have an independent agency investigate and confirm that,” Dillinger said.

State Police Sgt. John Perrine confirmed the agency is investigating but declined to comment further on the issue. Byer’s attorney, Tim Stoesz, said he welcomes the investigation.

“We always hoped that the commissioners would open an investigation to get to the bottom of this,” Stoesz said. “We will let the evidence tell the story.”