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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Jury Trial For Former Guthrie Township Trustee has been Cancelled - Will Be Reset For Another Date

LAWRENCE COUNTY - JUNE 15, 2022 - The jury trial for former Guthrie Township Trustee Robert Awbrey that was originally scheduled for July 13, 2022, has been cancelled and will be reset for another date.

Former Guthrie Township Trustee Robert Awbrey

This comes after Awbrey's defense attorney Scott Callahan asked for a continuance.

The former Guthrie Township Trustee Robert Awbrey was charged with official misconduct, and theft back on July 31, 2019.

Robert Awbrey was appointed as Guthrie Township Trustee on May 1, 2016, and his wife Teri was appointed as clerk.

Awbrey resigned from the position on December 23, 2018. Awbrey was to receive a salary of $4,200 a year.

Following his resignation, the Indiana State Board of Accounts conducted an audit of the township office.

According to State Board of Accounts he was paid the following amounts.

  • 2016 - $5,625.33

  • 2017 - $8,715.02

  • 2018 - $25,810.00

According to the State Board of Accounts records Awbrey wrote checks to reimburse himself and did not provide documentation for what the check were written for.

The total the amount of the checks was written for include:

  • 2016 - $780

  • 2017 - $6,743.98

  • 2018 - $2,709.90

  • Total - $10,233.88

The township advisory board was to create a salary ordinance for all employees; however, the township board only met on as needed basis and did not create a salary ordinance to increase Awbrey's pay.

In addition to the criminal charges, Awbrey faces a civil lawsuit by the State of Indiana which seeks damages.

The State of Indiana civil lawsuit against Robert Awbrey has been stayed since October 28, 2020 on a motion by Attorney Scott Callahan until the criminal matter can be resolved. In the civil complaint by the Attorney General's office they are seeking reimbursement of public funds that were either, misappropriated, illegally received, illegally retained, unaccounted for or not paid over money received, obtained by fraud, and/or wrongfully withheld.

According to the civil action the State Attorney General's office maintains that $14,678.46 was overpaid in compensation. In addition, Awbrey was overpaid $1,200 in office rent, In addition during the audit period from the State Board of Accounts a amount of $10,233.88 was disbursed in the form of 13 checks from May 14, 2016 to September 3, 2018. According to the court record there were no supporting documentation to validate the payments.

Due to this action of Awbrey the State of Indiana suffered a loss of $26,12.34 and due to Awbrey's action the State Board of Accounts incurred additional audit costs of $6,767.17.

A total judgment from the State of Indiana was requested in the amount of $32,879.51 and on the behalf of Guthrie Township the Attorney General Office requested three times the actual loss in the amount of $78,337.02.

To this date Guthrie Township has not received any reimbursement from Awbrey and by Indiana Law was to be bonded before taking office. There is no record of a bond company in court filings, or a bond company reimbursing the township for their losses.

A date for the next jury trial will be set by Lawrence County Superior Court I Judge John Plummer following a pretrial conference on August 2, 2022 at 9:00 a.m.

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