Portage Co. Treasurer offers letter of resignation amid allegati - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Portage Co. Treasurer offers letter of resignation amid allegations of waiving tax interest

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PORTAGE COUNTY (WAOW)-- The Portage County treasurer is resigning, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

Stephanie Stokes says she's doing so on Thursday, Sept. 29 under protest. 

The state has been looking into accusations against Dreier for about one year; but after information unfolded during that investigation, County Executive Patty Dreier said she wanted to expedite the process of getting Stokes out of office.

"I have grave concerns," said Dreier.

Friday, she filed charges against Stokes for allegedly waving property tax interest payments for multiple individuals.

"Interest was being waived for some individuals," said Dreier. "And other individuals were told 'we don't have any other arrangements.'"

One of those individuals was allegedly former Deputy Treasurer Amy Townsend.

Those charges also state Stokes failed to distribute tax dollars to several jurisdictions in a timely matter, including the Stevens Point School District, Mid State Technical College, and multiple municipalities.

"You have to pay interest penalties to the party you're late in paying because they're dependent on these dollars," said Dreier.

That in turn required the county to pay interest on those funds, and that cost falls on the taxpayers.

"The taxpayers of the county have to pay an additional 20-plus thousand dollars in interest," added Dreier.

We reached out to Stokes at her home in attempts to get her response to the charges, but she did not answer her door. 

But in her letter, Stokes said that Dreier has locked her out of the Treasure's Office, effectively firing her.

But Portage County Finance Chair James Gifford said that claim resulted from a misunderstanding.

"An employee in the maintenance department had heard that she was fired or resigned, one or the other," said Gifford. "And he pulled her access key.. by mistake - that shouldn't have happened."

In her letter, Stokes said she plans on following up with the Attorney General regarding the situation.

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