An investigation into the possible misappropriation of funds in Clayton Township is underway, according to statements made by authorities familiar with the situation.
Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick confirmed the sheriff’s department was contacted late last year about the possibility of misappropriated township funds and conducted an initial investigation into the matter. That investigation led the sheriff’s department to conclude that there was enough evidence to warrant further action and the department contacted the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation for assistance.
The DCI was contacted for two reasons, according to McCullick. First was expertise. The alleged offense is a financial crime, possibly involving public money. DCI maintains a group dedicated to investigating financial crimes. Secondly, there was a question of public integrity for the sheriff’s department and the need to avoid any conflict of interest.
“We need to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest,” McCullick said. “We don’t want it to appear that we might want to hide something or cover something up.”
McCullick also emphasized the expertise of the DCI in investigating financial crime far out shadows the resources of the local sheriff’s department. He noted that the department utilizes the service of DCI quite a bit, especially in the investigation of financial crimes.
While DCI does not take all of the cases with which it is approached, it did agree to do the investigation in the Clayton Township case “because of our circumstances,” McCullick explained.
DCI spokesperson Dana Brueck confirmed the agency had been contacted late last year for assistance by Crawford County authorities, but declined to comment further. She explained it was DCI policy to not comment on the nature or scope of an open and ongoing investigation.
Clayton Township Chairman Dennis Swiggum and other township officials either could not be reached for comment or declined to make a comment on the situation.
Clayton Township Treasurer Amy Byl declined to comment on the situation, except to say the answer would come when the DCI finishes their investigation.
Former Clayton Township Clerk Dayna Hooverson resigned from her position last year. However, there has been no official linkage of Hooverson or her resignation with the ongoing investigation.