With two trustees absent from the Sept. 12 town meeting, the Paonia board of trustees agreed to table a vote on filing civil charges against Kristen Chesnik until the town's Sept. 24 regular meeting, when all board members can be present.
Last March, Chesnik, the town's former finance officer, pled guilty to the theft of $393,000 from the town coffers and was sentenced to four years in prison, followed by five years of probation.
Once out of prison, Chesnik is required to begin paying back the full amount. (An article on the details of the possible suit ran in the Sept. 11 issue of the DCI.)
Prior to tabling the decision, trustee Eric Goold said he will vote against the civil action. "This is going to be the most unpopular opinion in the room, again," said Goold, "but here I am saying this: I think we should forgive and forget and this has bogged us down since we've been elected and we didn't even have anything to do with it. And she is being punished enough."
Trustee Larry Wissbeck said he was "going along with Goold. I see no real point in pursuing a civil action when we're unlikely to even have the criminal action satisfied," said Wissbeck, calling it "throwing good money after bad."
Ayers disagreed. "I believe in forgiveness, but I also believe in accountability," said Ayers. "I wish we didn't have to do this, but ... somebody has to deal with it."
According to town attorney, Jim Briscoe, the statute of limitations on filing civil charges expires three years following the date the theft was discovered. Discrepancies in the town's books were first discovered in November 2011.blog comments powered by Disqus