Florida Keys News
Saturday, May 5, 2012
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Missing equipment not reported

Authorities are investigating claims that Monroe County government equipment went missing in 2010, but the department head told employees "not to file a report and she would take care of it," according to a police report the county filed Tuesday.

Then-Technical Services Director Lisa Druckemiller allegedly refused to report the disappearance of four Dell laptop computers -- worth a combined $10,153 -- brought to the Key West branch library for training on Sept. 15, 2010. When Druckemiller's employees, Jorge Swaby and Hank Kokenzie, returned for them on Jan. 1, 2011, library workers checked the vault, conference rooms and storage lockers, but were unable to find them, the report states.

"Swaby and Kokenzie said they asked Druckemiller several times about filing a report and she refused," the report states.

Deputy County Administrator Debbie Frederick told technical services workers to file Tuesday's police report after the Clerk of the Circuit Court Office conducted an audit and asked about the missing computers.

Druckemiller retired from the county in March amid allegations that she stole county-owned iPads and iPhones and sold them to other county workers and officials, including Kokenzie, County Administrator Roman Gastesi and County Commissioner Heather Carruthers.

The Citizen previously reported the purchases of Kokenzie and Gastesi, but not Carruthers.

Carruthers, who reported the purchase early in the investigation, told The Citizen Friday that after she took office January 2009, county officials offered to let her use a county-owned iPad and iPhone, but she did not want taxpayers paying for her Internet and cellphone service, so she purchased her own equipment through the county. She said she paid $299 for the iPhone and $849 for the iPad, writing a check payable to Monroe County.

Carruthers said when she asked for an upgraded phone in spring 2011, Druckemiller brought her a phone and told her she was purchasing it through her, not the county, because she received a special deal on them. Carruthers said Druckemiller wanted cash, but she paid with a check because she wanted a record of the transaction. The iPhone is one of those reportedly stolen from the county, sources said.

County officials uncovered the alleged theft after county fire officials noticed their budget was billed for an iPad that was not in their possession. County officials alerted the State Attorney's Office, which is investigating. Druckemiller has been questioned, but not charged.

Prosecutors plan to bring the case before a recently empaneled grand jury, but they are still awaiting billing records from AT T, officials said.

tohara@keysnews.com

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