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Ex-town clerk praised for tornado work is accused of theft

FILE - In this June 4, 2015 file photo, Kim Neiman stands in her office, which is temporarily located in a trailer outside of the community pool in Norfolk, Neb. The former village clerk who was praised for her work in helping rebuild her northeast Nebraska community following a 2014 tornado strike has been accused of theft.Neiman, 57, was arrested Wednesday, Jan 8, 2020, on a warrant that included seven felony counts of theft and three of abuse of public records. (The Norfolk Daily News via AP, File)
Posted at 11:13 AM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 12:13:05-05

PILGER, Neb. (AP) — A former village clerk who was praised for her work in helping rebuild her northeast Nebraska community following a 2014 tornado strike has been accused of theft.

Kimberly Neiman, 57, was arrested Wednesday at her home in Pilger on a warrant that included seven felony counts of theft and three of abuse of public records. Court records don’t list the name of an attorney who could comment for her.

She’d been fired by the village board in February 2019, following a state audit that found more than $562,000 in questionable transactions and more than $156,000 in suspicious charges on the village’s credit card.

Authorities didn’t say exactly what the money may have been spent on, but several of the payments went to entities at mailing addresses in the U.S. and Canada that the auditor described as “questionable business locations.” They included a vape store, UPS locations, mailrooms and apartment buildings.

After being asked about the questionable payments, Neiman filed a consumer complaint with the state attorney general’s office, stating that she was being billed for things she didn’t order. The auditor’s report, however, said that was “difficult to believe.”

Most of the transactions and payments were not submitted for board approval, the audit report said, which “gives rise to concerns regarding possible official misconduct and/or abuse of public records.”

The tornado on June 16, 2014, destroyed or damaged more than half of the Stanton County community, which had about 350 residents. A 5-year-old girl was killed.

In recognition of her service to Pilger, the following year Neiman was named Outstanding Public Administrator of the Year by the Nebraska chapter of the American Society of Public Administration.