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Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
July 30, 2012
DALLAS -- Former Dallas city manager Jerry Wyatt pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon to 17 charges stemming from an investigation into alleged financial mismanagement.
He is facing seven felonies, including two counts of first-degree aggravated theft, which means Wyatt allegedly would have stolen at least $20,000 from the city since 2009 -- which court documents say is when the thefts began.
While very has been little released about the nature of the theft, officials say no cash was taken. Rather, city resources allegedly were used to purchase "good and services" for personal use.
Wyatt's plea was entered in Polk County Circuit Court during an afternoon arraignment before Judge William Horner.
A Polk County grand jury indicted Wyatt on Wednesday on the following criminal charges:
* Two counts of felony first-degree aggravated theft.
To be charged with aggravated theft, a person must have stolen $10,000 or more in one incident or a series of incidents, according to Oregon statute.
* Five counts of felony computer crime, which includes any incident in which a computer is used in the execution of a crime.
* Five counts of misdemeanor official misconduct.
According to Oregon statute, official misconduct includes incidents in which a public official knowingly fails to perform a duty or commits an unauthorized act.
* Five counts of misdemeanor falsifying business records, which includes altering or destroying records or omitting information with the intent to defraud.
After the grand jury issued the indictment, an arrest warrant was issued for Wyatt. He turned himself into authorities late Thursday afternoon.
Wyatt appeared at Friday's hearing in custody at the Polk County Jail, where he was being held on $200,000 bail.
Wyatt's attorney, Howard Collins, requested Wyatt be released or the bail reduced during the brief hearing. Horner denied the request.
However, Wyatt posted bail later on Friday.
Collins and Wyatt's family members, who were in the courtroom during the arraignment, declined further comment on the case Friday.
City and county officials have also been tight-lipped about what incidents led to the charges.
The Polk County grand jury indictment lists the charges, offering a time frame for when the alleged crimes were committed, but no further description of what occurred.
"I can't go into more detail than that," Polk County District Attorney Stan Butterfield said Friday.
At this point in the investigation, Butterfield said no other people will be charged.
Dallas Mayor Brian Dalton said the city would be looking into its financial procedures to see if any improvements could be made, but stressed that the system worked as it should have.
"Our system worked," he said. "We caught it. But we will go back and take some lessons for this."
Dalton said while court documents say the alleged theft began in 2009, the incidents weren't a regular occurrence early on.
"It was reaching a crescendo there at the end," he said. "It was nothing that would have been picked up as a pattern early on."
Wyatt resigned July 2 amid accusations of financial improprieties, after the city's finance department reported what appeared to be incidents of improper spending.
That report launched a lengthy investigation conducted by the Dallas Police Department, the bulk of which concluded last week.
Dallas Deputy Chief Tom Simpson, the lead investigator in the case, said Thursday he still has a few interviews to conduct, but was nearing the end of the investigation.
Wyatt is due in court again on Aug. 16 for a pretrial conference.