Former Albion city manager sentenced in embezzlement case

Former Albion city manager sentenced in embezzlement case

October 7, 2021 | By: Tracie Christenson | Battle Creek Enquirer – The former city manager of Albion was placed on probation and ordered to make restitution on a charge of embezzlement from the city.

LaTonya Rufus, 47, of Dolton, Illinois, was placed on two years probation and ordered to pay restitution to the city of $3,463.45 and fines and costs of $1,968.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Rufus pleaded no contest June 2 to a charge of embezzlement by a public officer of more than $50. A charge of embezzlement by an agent was dismissed. As originally charged, Rufus faced up to 10 years in prison.

Rufus was appointed Albion City Manager in October 2018 but was put on administrative leave by the city council in January 2019 and charged in March of that year.

City officials said Rufus had obtained and used a bank credit card without authorization.

Albion also is suing Rufus for $6,500 after giving her the money for moving expenses but requiring her to provide receipts and return any unused money, which they said she did not do.

That civil case brought by the city is pending in district court.

Lincoln noted that Rufus has no criminal history and was employed and “I believe an asset to the community until this offense.

Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Lincoln said she was not imposing any jail time “because that doesn’t serve any purpose.” The judge said she wanted Rufus to find a job and repay the city.

“When persons who are public employees take on the responsibility to lead and guide communities and particularly communities such as Albion that have struggled in the past, it is important that the community can rely on those people to deal fairly and put the community needs first.

“Sadly that is not what happened in this case.”

The judge noted that the city council said the relationship between the city and the city council and the citizens of Albion are damaged by the case.

“It is unfortunate that your acts have resulted in damage to the entire community.”

Rufus didn’t speak before she was sentenced.