Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, March 7, 2013
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Ex-IT director pleads guilty

A former Monroe County technical services director pleaded guilty to two felony theft charges on Wednesday, but sentencing could be held up because her attorneys are still trying to show that the county administrator was involved in the crimes.

Lisa Druckemiller pleaded guilty to grand theft in excess of $20,000 and dealing in stolen property. As part of an open plea before Judge David Audlin, she admitted to stealing 34 county-owned iPhones, 12 iPads and one cellphone.

The plea came after "extensive discussions with the (Monroe County) State Attorney's Office," her attorney Ron Strauss said.

Druckemiller is scheduled to be sentenced April 1. She faces 30 years' prison, but prosecutors recommend only a two-year sentence.

However, the sentencing date may be postponed, as her attorneys struggle to get records they requested from AT&T. They might not have them all by April 1, Strauss said.

Strauss told Audlin Wednesday that phone records will show Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi was involved. Strauss said the first stolen iPhones "were requested by the county administrator."

"The county administrator requested the phones and demanded a discount," Strauss said. "She did not decide to do this on her own."

Druckemiller told a grand jury in July that Gastesi approached her about purchasing two iPhones and placed "two $100 dollar bills on her desk and said 'I want iPhones for my kids. Make it happen.'"

Prosecutors could not verify the allegation, as it as never substantiated in a document or by another witness.

Gastesi has strongly denied it. He bought four iPhones and an iPad through Druckemiller, but says he did not know they were stolen.

"The facts show this was going on long before I purchased anything from her," he said Wednesday.

He welcomed the news that she pleaded guilty to the charges and looks forward to the sentencing, so "we (county officials) can put this behind us and move on."

tohara@keysnews.com

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