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Utility fund lost more than $100,000

The Boulder City utility fund has lost more than $100,000 since a misappropriation of funds was discovered in an outside audit in 2015.

James Petrie, the utility department’s former billing and collection supervisor, was fired in December after a third-party auditing firm found $50,000 missing from the city’s bank accounts. The city cited “discrepancies in deposits” for the missing money and said Petrie was responsible for processing those deposits.

About five months later, the city paid more than double the money it lost to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the former utility employee.

The terms of the settlement required the city to pay Petrie $50,000 — $20,000 in back wages and $30,000 for compensatory damages — as well as $2,000 to his attorney, Adam Levine, within 10 days of the May 9 settlement.

The city was also required to pay Petrie’s COBRA premiums between the date the settlement was signed and December, a year after he was fired.

Settlement costs to the city totaled $58,408, according to city administrator Bryce Boldt.

Boldt said because Petrie’s former position was paid out of the city’s utility fund, the money used to settle his lawsuit came from the same place, leaving the utility fund with $108,408 less than before the money went missing.

In addition to compensating the man financially, the city has to revise its records to show he was not fired “but rather voluntarily resigned,” the settlement reads.

In Petrie’s personnel file, City Manager David Fraser will add a memo that reads: “No evidence has been found that James Petrie misappropriated any of the $50,000 of deposits which the City’s outside auditors could not identify from bank reconciliations. Mr Petrie is eligible for rehire.”

However, as part of the agreement, Petrie won’t seek to be rehired.

“Petrie also agrees not to apply for or accept employment by the City in the future,” the document, signed by Petrie and Fraser, reads.

Petrie’s wrongful firing claims are “vigorously denied” by the city and the agreement “shall not be construed as an admission of liability” by Petrie or Boulder City, the settlement says.

The criminal investigation into the missing funds is ongoing, Boldt said.

“To my knowledge, no employees who could be potentially at fault for the lost funds have been identified,” he said.

Petrie deferred comment to his attorney, Levine, who didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

Contact Kimber Laux at klaux@bouldercityreview.comm702-586-9523. Find @lauxkimber on Twitter.

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