Ottumwa school district

MASON CITY (AP) — No criminal charges will be filed over more than $2.1 million in improper payments by the Mason City Community School District.

The Cerro Gordo County attorney's office said in a news release Wednesday that it was determined after consultations with the Iowa attorney general's office that there was "insufficient evidence to support any criminal charges."

A state audit that covered July 2009 through August 2017 says more than $1.3 million was salary to 66 mainly administrative employees that exceeded the authorized pay and increases. The improper payments also included other monetary benefits, such as vehicle and cellphone allowances given to some employees. The audit report released in December also said hundreds of thousands more in improper disbursements covered district contributions to retirement and annuity accounts.

John Berg was hired as the chief financial officer for the Ottumwa Community School District in 2017 after being placed on paid administrative leave during his employment with Mason City.

In January, the Ottumwa School District made a statement in support of Berg, who was serving Mason City during the time period the audit looked at.

"We have interviewed [our current CFO, John Berg] about his work for the Mason City community school district. We are confident that Mr. Berg did not engage in any unlawful or dishonest activity while employed in Mason City and that he is serving the Ottumwa Community School District very well," Superintendent Nicole Kooiker said in the January statement.

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