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Public servant steals $1.5 million from two tiny towns in Missouri

Updated: 2013-11-23T03:50:34Z

By MATT CAMPBELL

The Kansas City Star

The Missouri River bluff towns of Wellington and Napoleon barely have 1,000 people between them, but they have been taken for $1.5 million.

The former treasurer of both the Wellington-Napoleon Fire Protection District and the Wellington-Napoleon Special Road District admitted in federal court this week that he stole the money.

Leland Ray Kolkmeyer, 58, cut checks from the public funds for himself and to pay creditors, according to information filed by the U.S. attorney’s office.

Kolkmeyer was appointed treasurer of the road district in 1996 and was elected treasurer of the fire district, which has 25 volunteer firefighters, in 1997. He resigned both positions on Feb. 25 of this year.

He embezzled $939,485.53 from the road district and $590,674.37 from the fire district, prosecutors said.

Kolkmeyer is in the funeral home business and in 2006 was elected as a director of the International Association of Lions Clubs.

Wellington and Napoleon are about 35 miles east of Kansas City on Missouri 224 in Lafayette County. The towns were established in the 1830s and are named after the commanders in the Battle of Waterloo. Wellington is the larger community, and the two share a high school football team.

Kolkmeyer pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud. He could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $250,000 on each count. He will be required to forfeit assets totaling the amount he stole.

Kolkmeyer is free on bond, pending sentencing. He did not return a call to his home Friday.

To reach Matt Campbell, call 816-234-4902 or send email to mcampbell@kcstar.com.

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