Masontown councilwoman charged in $1,600 theft
A Masontown councilwoman is accused of taking $1,610 from a community nonprofit while serving as its treasurer, according to investigators.
Kim M. Essig, 54, is facing several misdemeanor counts in connection with the alleged theft and doctoring of bank statements for Masontown Matters.
Essig referred questions to attorney Simon John of Uniontown. John declined to comment.
Officials with Masontown Matters raised concerns to police in January that Essig may be involved in a theft and altering of a bank statement, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday by Fayette County Detective Steven Kontaxes. Essig was treasurer for two years.
Investigators found that $1,610 was missing from Masontown Matters accounts, the complaint states.
A July 2012 check for $1,500 was made payable to cash. Half of the amount was used to pay organizational expenses, “while the remaining amount of $750 is missing,” Kontaxes wrote.
A check dated November 2012 for $860 was made payable to cash and a note on the memo line indicated that the funds were to be transferred to a different account belonging to the nonprofit, Kontaxes wrote.
“This investigation determined that the check was cashed and the funds were not transferred to the general account as required,” the complaint states.
Essig is accused of altering a bank statement to conceal a $500 November 2013 check and another deposit of $500 two months later.
In a June interview with investigators, Essig said she sent the statement to an out-of-state friend for alterations before presenting it to the Masontown Matters board of directors.
“Essig said she did this because she did not want that president of the organization to know that there was money missing from the bank account,” Kontaxes wrote in the complaint. “Essig said that she returned the $500 to the bank account and did not take any other money from the account.”
Kontaxes could not be reached Monday afternoon.
Masontown Matters was formed several years ago to revitalize the borough's downtown area and to hold events for children, said group president Kay Rendina.
The group is working on setting up a business incubator, she said.
Funds come mostly through donations, but the group has received some grants, said Rendina, who also serves on borough council.
She declined to comment on the charges, as did Mayor Toni Petrus.
Essig is facing three counts each of tampering with records and tampering with public records and two counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received. A Sept. 23 preliminary hearing will be held before before District Judge Randy Abraham.
Essig was elected to council in 2011 and took her seat the following year, according to county election bureau information. Her term runs through the end of 2015.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or email@example.com
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins GM Rutherford ‘wouldn’t make’ Despres trade today
- Officer: Munhall driver in fatal crash was going too fast to make turn
- Pirates pitching prospect Kingham undergoes Tommy John surgery
- Starkey: Kang story of the year for Pirates
- Man’s body found hours after disappearance on Youghiogheny River
- Healthy defensive back Mitchell eager for 2nd season with Steelers
- Jefferson-Morgan captures first WPIAL softball title in school history
- Crews rescue worker trapped in Lawrenceville trench collapse
- Chevron settles fatal well fire lawsuit for $5 million
- International counterfeiter sentenced in Pittsburgh to 7 1/2 years in prison
- Eighty-year-old man died in South Fayette fire