BOISE - Ada County Treasurer Vicky McIntyre is being charged with seven felony counts of misuse of public money by a public officer.
A summons was issued Thursday afternoon, and a short time later McIntyre was escorted out of a county building where she was working. In a news release late Thursday afternoon, Ada County announced that McIntyre has been suspended until further notice. Elizabeth Mahn has been appointed as acting treasurer, effective immediately.
"We called an emergency meeting to meet to make sure we could instill the public's trust that their money was safe," Chairman of the Board of Ada County Commissioners Dave Case told 7Investigates, "After consulting with our attorneys and personnel, being HR and stuff like that, it was determined the best thing to do until these charges were adjudicated was to suspend the treasurer from her duties as treasurer for Ada County."
The Office of the Idaho Attorney General filed a criminal complaint in Ada County on Wednesday. The AG’s office found McIntyre used a county credit card for personal purchases between January 2016 and March 2018.
The attorney general alleges McIntyre - who is an elected official - is in violation of Idaho code regarding misuse of public money by public officers and public employees. Records show a public corruption complaint form was submitted to the AG's office in mid-April.
In a statement she issued Thursday evening, McIntyre said, "I intend to defend myself against these charges."
According to the court documents obtained by KTVB:
The first count alleges the Ada County Treasurer used a credit card issued to Ada County for a personal purchase of two hockey tickets for a game in Las Vegas between January 29, 2018, and March 20, 2018.
The second count alleges McIntyre used a credit card issued to Ada County for personal transportation costs on March 22, 2018.
The third count alleges she used an Ada County credit card for a personal purchase of two LINQ High Roller Ferris Wheel tickets on March 22, 2018, in Las Vegas.
The fourth count states McIntyre used an Ada County credit card at Walmart for a personal purchase on January 13, 2016.
The fifth count states she used a county credit card for personal purchases at the Crystal Bridges Museum (in Bentonville, Arkansas) on or about January 13, 2016.
The sixth count accuses McIntyre of misusing a county credit card at Eleven, (a restaurant at Crystal Bridges), for a personal purchase on or about January 14, 2016.
The seventh count alleges McIntyre used a county credit card for a personal purchase at Village Inn Restaurants on or about January 16, 2016.
"The concern was obviously public trust is a big thing to have when you're in the business of taking care of the public's money," Case said.
The probable cause affidavit KTVB obtained states the March 2018 charges in question are related to a Government Investment Officers Association (GIOA) conference in Las Vegas that McIntyre and the chief deputy treasurer Elizabeth Mahn attended. The January 2016 charges were unrelated to work, and the card was used during a personal trip to Arkansas. The individual charges from both instances range from $15 to $173.
We first reported McIntyre was in hot water in April when Ada County Clerk Chris Rich said a routine audit showed she used a county credit card to make personal purchases, including hockey tickets, cab fares and other entertainment purchases during a Las Vegas conference in March 2018.
Commissioner Case says the questionable charges were brought to the Board of Commissioners in April by the county clerk. From there, the issue escalated to the Idaho Attorney General's office.
"You're innocent till proven guilty. We have allegations against her. We took action to ensure public trust, that the public would know their money is safe. Because when you have allegations out there people think the worst, that all the money is gone. That's not the case. We did this to protect the public trust and ensure everything was on the up and up and that if she gets completely exonerated of everything then we're back to where we were," Case told KTVB.
At the time, Ada County Commissioners had asked McIntyre to surrender her county credit card. She told the Spokesman-Review that the commissioners’ request was “crazy” and that she would refuse to do so. At the time, McIntyre said she had already paid back those purchases. But according to the Ada County clerk, that wasn't the first time McIntyre had been in trouble for the same issue.
McIntyre tells 7Investigates she believes the hockey game was related to the conference because GIOA sent out the e-mail informing and inviting attendees. She also says the transportation to and from events and dinners while in Las Vegas were related to her official duties. In a statement, she says when approached by Rich after the conference, she wrote a personal check to the county.
Commissioner case disagrees.
"Those purchases had nothing to do with the conference she was there for," he told 7Investigates.
As it pertains to the 2016 allegations, she says she accidentally used the wrong credit card because the county card looks like her personal card. She says she realized when she returned from vacation and "immediately issued a check to the credit card company for those purchases. Since that time, the county credit card has not been located anywhere near my personal wallet".
"I find that a very flimsy excuse. The credit card itself has county identification on it so, you know, I think if someone is trying to justify their behavior I think they could pretty much say anything they want," Commissioner Case said.
"Laws are made for specific reasons and trying to say, well, I paid it back doesn't excuse you from committing a violation of the law," Case added. "To say that, 'oh yeah, I did this but I went ahead and paid it back so you need to excuse me' - I don't buy that argument. That's just me personally."
McIntyre goes on to say in her statement, "I have never intended to spend County funds for personal purchases. I have ongoing disagreements with the Ada County Clerk, Christopher Rich; but his word is GOD!"
McIntyre was not running for re-election for Ada County treasurer because she was running for Idaho State treasurer. She finished third in May's Republican primary election, with Julie A. Ellsworth securing the win.