ACKELY – A former city clerk is taking the city of Ackley to court over her 2017 fraud arrest.
Attorneys for Cynthia Roskens said city officials didn’t conduct a thorough investigation into her cellphone bills and payments for unused vacation. A fraud allegation lodged against Roskens was ultimately thrown out, and she prevailed when city government took her to small claims court over payments she received for unused vacation time.
The suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids by Roskens’ attorneys Matthew Boles and Adam Witosky of Des Moines. Named as defendants are the city, Mayor Erik Graham, City Council members Robert Harms, Sue Ibeling, Al Jones, Joe Wessels and Dale Brass, Clerk Kelly DeBerg and Police Chief Brian Shimon.
The city hasn’t filed a formal response.
In addition to her clerk duties, Roskens had handled several other city responsibilities when the city administrator and economic development director left. She was also sentinel of the city cemetery, a position that meant she was on-call around the clock.
According to the suit, the city didn’t supply Roskens with a cellphone, so she used her personal phone for city business. She paid the bill out of her own pocket and arranged with her cellular carrier to reduce sales taxes from the bill because she used it for city business, the suit states.
The added duties also overtook her vacations, so she had city leaders sign off on collecting for unused vacation time, the suit states.
After Roskens left her city job for a position at a hospital in 2016, her cellphone bill landed at City Hall despite the fact it was addressed to her home. City workers opened the bill and began to question the tax exemptions, and police were contacted.
She was arrested in 2017 on claims that she benefited by not paying sales tax on her phone bill. Prosecutors dropped he charge months later, the suit states.
Court records allege Roskens lost a job at a hospital over the allegations.