Valley City Police Chief under investigationValley City, ND (WDAY TV) - An accusation in Valley City is so serious, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is looking into it. City Commissioners are accusing the Police Chief of mishandling money for years, something the chief denies.
Listening to commissioners accusations during a press conference aired live on the radio, Valley City Police Chief Dean Ross says he just couldn't take it anymore.
Jon Wager – Valley City Commissioner: "It has been brought to the attention of Valley City officials with regard to potential financial mismanagement and misappropriation of public funds."
Ross walks from the police department into the heated press conference at city hall, against his lawyer's wishes.
Dean Ross – Valley City Police Chief: "People called me and said what's going on about the meeting today. "
He sits quietly waiting for City Commissioner Jon Wager to finish a long list of allegations.
Wager - "And as any police officer would tell you, 'ignorance of the law is no excuse.'"
One accusation says Ross sold two Police Department trucks for around eight thousand dollars, and donated almost four thousand of it to a charity Ross founded, called CounterAct. The charity, which is supposed to provide drug and alcohol education, is under scrutiny for other reasons...
Wager -"Having received over $24,000 and providing no drug of alcohol education in the public schools for nearly six years."
Ross - "CounterAct money is accounted for. There is no personal abuse."
They also say Ross was placing public funds, almost 10 thousand dollars, in two unauthorized accounts at Wells Fargo.
That's not allowed because a city auditor is supposed to control all money related to the city.
Wager - "No policies ever permit funds generated form the sale of public property to be placed into non-public accounts"
And then an accusation that brought out heated opinions on both sides.
Wager - "City Hall has had numerous, credible reports of late-night, high volume shredding and removal of files and documents form the Police Department."
Ross - "that shredding statement is total bogus. There is nothing to that as far as shredding documents. Wherever Commissioner Wagar got that information he should check his source."
Some say it sounds like a he says--he says debate, and its hard to find the truth. But either way it's causing a deep divide to the small town of Valley City.
Wagar doesn't know if the money was used for personal gain. Ross says the money is still sitting in those accounts.