Tiregate had help
March 22, 2018
Many an employer has learned the painful lesson that trusting someone with money without checking up on them is a good way to make the money disappear.
Douglas County is probably out more than $1 million in tires and vehicle parts as a result of a decade-long scam perpetrated by motor pool manager Chris Oakden.
Oakden's scam wasn't even new by Douglas County standards.
Former Parks Superintendent Marty Strube used to sell county turf and trees in order to raise money to support his gambling habit.
Oakden updated that by selling tires and parts he purchased using public money to county employees.
More concerning to us is the reaction county officials had when someone attempted to report the unusual behavior, much less the increasing tire purchases.
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According to the Douglas County Grand Jury report at least one person was reprimanded for calling for an investigation.
The county lost at least one mid-level manager who quit after County Manager Steve Mokrohisky wouldn't investigate a complaint.
Meanwhile, honest employees were having their wages frozen to help the county through the recession.
We've written about a lot of embezzlers over the years, ranging from the 19th Century Genoa judge and jeweler who bet and lost his customers property to bookkeepers and accountants.
But the tiregate thefts are easily the worst case of public embezzlement that we've found in Douglas County history.
Aiding and abetting those thefts were the managers who unwittingly allowed them to go on for so long.
Audits, internal controls, even locks, are there to keep honest people honest.