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Nearly $86K in questionable spending found in ISU office

February 10, 2022 GMT

ANAMOSA, Iowa (AP) — A state audit has found nearly $86,000 in questionable spending of public money in the Iowa State University Extension Office in Jones County, including thousands spent for personal travel, alcohol, groceries and a video game console.

The Iowa State Auditor’s Office said in a report released Thursday that its special investigation identified more than $52,000 of improper spending and nearly $34,000 of unsupported expenses over a four-year period when the office was run by former extension director Jennifer Fischer.

Fischer was fired in September 2020 after questions were raised about her use of an extension credit card.

The report identified misspending that included more than $8,400 in personal purchases from Amazon, nearly $6,400 from department stores, $3,650 from grocery stores and $11,700 from other vendors. It also included $17,135 of unauthorized payouts of paid time off, payments in lieu of insurance, and travel reimbursements issued to Fischer.

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Among the improper purchases found were those for gift cards, a gaming laptop, an Xbox 360, Apple AirPods, movie theater tickets, airline tickets and other travel expenses to Texas for Fischer and her daughter and a purchase from gun dealer.

Copies of the report have been filed with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Jones County Attorney’s Office and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, State Auditor Rob Sand said.