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WEST SILOAM SPRINGS, Okla. -- The former town manager of West Siloam Springs, Okla., spent $147,110 of taxpayer money on personal expenses during the 14 months of her tenure, according to an independent audit.

The city hired Kathy Osbourn in August 2017 to serve as the town manager for $70,000 a year and town clerk for $50 a month. West Siloam Springs is just across the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line from Siloam Springs.

Irregularities discovered during a routine examination of city finances in September led to the city board's Oct. 16 decision to place Osbourn on medical leave until its Nov. 19 meeting, according to the report.

Osbourn resigned Nov. 16. A phone call to her attorney, Winston Conner, was not returned.

Robert St. Pierre, an auditor hired by the city, shared his full report after a 55-minute executive session at the beginning of Monday's Board of Directors meeting.

St. Pierre said the primary method Osbourn used to access the funds was a city credit card, but 21 cash advancements were also taken out.

The audit showed that when the city closed a bank account containing $19,549 earlier this year, Osbourn transferred $10,000 to the city's water department. Some of the remaining money was used to make an $8,300 payment to Ally Bank to pay off a pickup registered in Osbourn's name, and $1,249 was put into a cashier's check made out to Osbourn.

Eggs, bread, makeup, steak and burritos are among the items St. Pierre said Osbourn bought with city money, according to the report.

Other purchases include a 24-month carwash membership, a set of tires from Benton County Tire, auto repairs from Superior Chevrolet Garage, a trampoline that remains unaccounted for, a backyard theater system, tuition for astronomy classes and several transactions at a smoke shop in Siloam Springs, he said.

More than than 150 charges to local restaurants like McDonalds or Taco Bell were discovered, and gasoline purchases were frequent, with 32 receipts from Conoco, 14 from Phillip's 66 and two from E.Z. Mart, St. Pierre said.

The city's credit card was used to pay for Internet and electric bills, wire transfers to a Kohl's credit card and a debt payment to a student loan account, St. Pierre said.

The board approved City Attorney Jot Hartley's recommendation to give the audit findings to Osbourn and her attorney and allow them to appear at the Jan. 7 board meeting.

Whether Osbourn and her attorney attend next month's meeting to respond to the allegations remains uncertain, as does whether criminal charges will be filed and what steps the board will take at that time, Hartley said in an interview.

The next West Siloam Springs board meeting is Dec. 17.

Kathy Osbourn

Metro on 12/12/2018

Print Headline: Former town manager accused of taking funds

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