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Audit: Coggon Light Workers Used Taxpayer Funds for Gas, Victoria's Secret Items

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COGGON, Iowa A report from the Iowa State Auditor's Office claims two Coggon workers connected with the city's municipal power plant misappropriated nearly $80,000 in company money. And the audit says Superintendent William Edgerly and former plant secretary Deneen Mangas at the misspent money from 2004 until August 27, of 2012.

The purchases documented by the 117-page state audit at the Coggon Municipal Light Plant included $13,165.55 of personal purchases made with a municipal utility credit card and $30,316.35 of unauthorized vacation payouts.

KCRG-TV9 went to Coggon on Tuesday seeking comment. But those either named in the auditor's report or involved didn't have a lot to say. Plant Superintendent Edgerly wasn't at work and no one answered the door at a home he apparently owns with a son in town. The former secretary, Deneen Mangas, had no comment on the report.

The city of Coggon started a municipal power plant 60 years ago. The plant purchases electric power wholesale and also runs diesel generators, if needed, to supply electricity to 365 customers. One resident, Al Beckman, said he had heard of some issues at the plant but didn't know it had come to a state investigation of finances.

"I think it will be a shock when they hear about it. That's a lot of money to be used for what it shouldn't be," Beckman said.

The auditor's report specifically faulted the board that runs the municipal power plant. The report noted that Edgerly quit in January of 2012 shortly after the state's audit began. But Edgerly was rehired by the board months later at a nearly 25% increase in salary.

Board chairman Brian Anderson had no comment about the report. Coggon Mayor Dan Huber didn't add many details but did say the city was "grateful to the state auditor for the report and the city will take action." The mayor and city council in Coggon appoint the light plant's board of directors.

The state audit found numerous occasions when Edgerly filled up his own personal car with gas at a nearby convenience store using the plant credit card. The auditors documented at least eight cases when Edgerly purchased gas for either his own car, his son's car or a vehicle owned by Edgerly's girlfriend. Those eight instances were documented by store security video.

While the largest amount of misspent money was for unauthorized vacation payouts, the report also highlighted some specific questionable purchases. Those included money Edgerly admitted spending on concert tickets, mail order pet supplies and even purchases at Victoria's Secret.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said his office received the report Tuesday morning. Vander Sanden said it will take some time to review the report and decide if criminal charges are warranted for any of the activity.

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