Schlotman, Carr bound over for trial
CARRINGTON N.D. — Two Foster County men were arraigned on multiple felony charges after a preliminary hearing Friday in Southeast District Court here.
Roger Schlotman, former Foster County auditor, and James Carr, a Foster County commissioner, pleaded not guilty to the charges. No trial date for either defendant has been set.
Judge Thomas Merrick found probable cause for Schlotman to stand trial on one Class B felony charge and two Class C felony charges of misapplication of entrusted property, one charge each of Class B and C felony criminal conspiracy to commit misapplication of entrusted property and two Class C felony charges of tampering with public records.
Merrick found probable cause for Carr to face trial on one Class B felony charge and one Class C felony charge of criminal conspiracy to commit misapplication of entrusted property.
Merrick dismissed two Class A misdemeanor charges of tampering with public records against Carr.
Wells County State’s Attorney Kathleen Murray called three witnesses during the preliminary hearing. Murray is prosecuting the case to avoid any conflict of interest with the Foster County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Troy Kelly, an agent with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, testified concerning a search warrant served at the Foster County Auditor’s Office on Nov. 6, 2013. He and other agents seized vouchers, County Commission minutes and hand-written notes.
Alex Schroeder, a forensic accountant for Eide Bailly, testified the accountants had uncovered a number of payments lacking proper documentation. The payments were made from funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for repairs to road damage that occurred during flooding in the spring of 2009.
Eide Bailly is an accounting firm contracted by the county to investigate alleged improprieties within county funds.
Schroeder testified that one payment — a check for $944 to Schlotman — was not approved by the county emergency manager. Under cross-examination by William Kirschner, Schlotman’s attorney, Schroeder said the county commissioners had approved the voucher for overtime and direct administrative costs associated with Foster County’s administration of FEMA programs.
Bryan Lang, special agent for the BCI and lead investigator in the case, testified his investigation also included allegations from other Foster County officials that the minutes of the commission were not being signed promptly. The County Commission minutes are not considered official until approved by the commission and signed by the commission chairman.
Lang also alleged Schlotman sold property taken by the county for nonpayment of taxes without the approval of the Foster County Commission.
Kirschner and Bruce Quick, Carr’s attorney, did not present any witnesses.
Carr and Schlotman remain free on their own recognizance.
A Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and a $3,000 fine, a Class B felony has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, and a Class C felony has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org