Charges re-filed against former Tieton councilwoman

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- New charges are emerging against a former Tieton councilwoman. Staci Fordahl was once accused of stealing money from local schools. Her case was dismissed because there wasn't enough evidence.

Results of a new state audit reopened the case against Staci Fordahl. Authorities arrested her two years ago on embezzlement charges, but the case against her was dismissed without evidence from the audit.

Tieton Mayor Stanley Hall worked with Fordahl for two years on the council.

"Were you surprised when these allegations against her came out?" KIMA asked.
"Shocked because it was a total surprise," Hall. "It's not something that I would ever thought that she would do."

Auditors determined more than $11,000 in cash and checks intended for the Highland School District never made it to the bank. Fordahl was in charge of the district's deposits as the accounts payable clerk. These findings enabled Yakima County prosecutors to re-file charges for theft and forgery.

Lisa Jones has a daughter in the Highland School District.

"It makes me feel disgusted," said Jones. "I know all the fund raisers and stuff that we do just to help our kids to be able to do things and obviously that took from them."

The state auditor's office recommends better oversight of cash receipts and bank deposits. The district agreed to make the changes to shore up the weaknesses to prevent any more money from going astray. Administrators hope this is behind them.

"I don't know if you'd say it seemed to be the type of person cause a lot of people appear that way, but I just never thought she would do it," said Hall.

Now, that will be up to the courts to decide if she did. Fordahl is due in court next week. To get all sides, KIMA contacted her lawyer who had no comment.