Lawson:" I never hid any fee money from treasurer "

( Jim Lawson )

Former Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Jim Lawson says he never refused to give any fee money to the county treasurer during his time in office.

This past Monday Sheriff Mark Overman told the commissioners he turned in over $73,000 to the treasurer from a fees account that according to an employee had "persistently" had a lot of money in it during Lawson's administration.

Lawson says if there was an issue with the account while he was in office, an auditor would have pointed it out to him and the county board. He said he made a quarterly fees report that kept the board "in the loop" at all times.

County Management Accountant Jerry Cable confirms an auditor recently suggested money in the account be turned over to the Treasurer, and Overman complied. But Crable said Lawson would have needed some money in the account for civil service refunds, although the exact amount required is a matter of judgement.

Lawson says public records show he turned in over $1.5 million in fees to the treasurer during his administration, and that he made deposits on a regular basis and was not hiding any money for his use.

The account in question was reportedly established early in the Lawson administration when a long time employee became terminally ill.... and her replacement discovered checks and cash in desk drawers that was determined to be civil service fees collected during while the employee was sick.

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