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DA offers last chance to document accusations in Sloan

Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark is giving Village of Sloan officials one more chance to come up with documentation they say will prove that a former clerk-treasurer took advantage of her position.

"If you've got the stuff, bring it to us. If not, we're going to close the file," Clark said.

Members of the current village administration say criminal charges should be filed in the case. They contend that former Clerk-Treasurer Christine E. Dodds overpaid herself by as much as $25,000 and made unauthorized payments totaling $85,000 to former Village Attorney David Dale.

William J. Ragan, a retired Erie County assistant district attorney, was investigating the matter for the village, and was to gather the information and prepare a letter for Clark. But Ragan died unexpectedly Feb. 9.

Village Attorney Margaret A. Murphy said the district attorney's office wanted Ragan to prepare the letter, apparently because he was familiar with the facts and the format that would be needed. She has retrieved a couple of boxes containing documentation on the Sloan issue from Ragan's daughter and is prepared to write the letter, she said.

"I'll ask if there's a specific format, and I'll send the letter out myself," Murphy said.

The district attorney decided last fall that the case did not rise to the criminal level. Village officials met with Clark several months ago and brought up information of which Clark had been unaware.

"During the course of that conversation, something else that had not been the focus of investigation was brought forth," Clark said. "Quite frankly, if some of the allegations they made to me in November are, in fact, provable, then there would be a criminal case."

Murphy said that although she plans to step down as village attorney March 31, the end of the fiscal year, she has offered see this facet of the village legal work to its conclusion.

Clark said if he decides not to file charges, he would coordinate with the FBI's new Public Corruption Task Force, which also has expressed interest in looking at the allegations.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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