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June 26, 2013 Media Release Re: Auburn Teachers Association Investigation

The Auburn Police Department has concluded the investigation into the embezzlement of over $800,000 in local Auburn Teacher Association funds between January 2006 and November 2012. This time period corresponds to when complete bank records are first available until the death of the unions former president and primary theft suspect, Sally Jo Widmer. During the investigation, the audit of the local unions financial records was reviewed and multiple former and current union executive board members in place during the above time period were interviewed. No evidence of impropriety on the part of anyone else other than Sally Jo Widmer was uncovered. Widmer used the money to pay personal bills and credit cards, to pay charges resulting from the misuse of union credit cards and wrote checks to herself. Information developed indicates that Widmer was the only person in actual custody and control of the unions finances. Additionally, Widmer was thought by many to have personal financial resources due primarily to her association to a successful family business, her long career teaching and the corresponding pension she earned and personal lifestyle and investment choices. Therefore her spending habits were not suspicious to those who knew her. No one at the time thought her lifestyle was being funded with the monies of others, specifically union funds. The local union officials did not have in place a system of checks and balances to ensure that activity such as this did not occur. The union rather acted on the belief that Sally Jo Widmer was a strong, knowledgeable long time union president who could be trusted. There also is indication that Widmer had a strong personality and would successfully discourage anyone who questioned her. New union leadership elected into office in June of 2012 was pivotal in uncovering this crime. An audit was sought when they took control of the books and observed impropriety and reported the results to the police. The oversight of checks and balances previously lacking have reportedly been implemented at The Auburn Teachers Association. Any follow up questions please direct to Detective Bureau Supervisor Capt David DelFavero at 315-255-4705 Prepared by: Det Jeffery D. Mead / 315-255-4702 jmead@auburnpolice.net

46 North Street. Auburn, New York 13021-3699. (315) 255-4705. Fax (315) 255-4709

46 North Street. Auburn, New York 13021-3699. (315) 255-4705. Fax (315) 255-4709