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Current and former public officials and employees from small Northern Iowa town charged with felony crimes after investigation

This news story was published on February 13, 2021.
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ARMSTRONG, IOWA – Current and former public officials and employees from a small Northern Iowa town have been charged with felony crimes after an investigation.

On February 11, 2021, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office filed charges related to an investigation of current and former public officials and employees with the City of Armstrong in Emmet County, Iowa.

Mayor Greg Buum, police chief Craig Merrill, city clerk Tracie Lang, and former city clerk Connie Thackery were charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses in a 21-count joint trial information approved by the Emmet County District Court. The top count against Buum, Merrill, and Thackery is a charge of ongoing criminal conduct, a Class B felony. The top count against Lang is fraudulent practice in the first degree, a Class C felony. The trial information also alleges additional counts against some of the defendants for theft, felonious misconduct in office, non-felonious misconduct in office, tampering with records, assault with a dangerous weapon, and falsifying public documents, as committed by one or more of these defendants. Three of the defendants were arrested by the Emmet County Sheriff’s office on February 12, 2021, with assistance from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

These charges stem from a multi-year investigation led by the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Division of Criminal Investigation and following a special investigation by the Auditor of State’s Office. The investigation uncovered wrongdoing committed by the defendants, including but not limited to misappropriation of city funds, the presentation of fraudulent public records, deploying a TASER against a civilian in exchange for cash, and falsification of ledgers to conceal embezzlement. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting these cases at the request of the local county attorney due to a potential conflict of interest and one or more additional arrests are pending.

Greg Buum

Tracie Lang

Connie Thackery

On Sunday, February 14, the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office announced that as a result of the continuing investigation into wrongdoing by current and former officials from the City of Armstrong, Armstrong police chief Craig Merrill was taken into custody by the Martin County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Office on February 13, 2021, and is currently in custody pending extradition to Iowa and further legal proceedings.

Craig Merrill

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2 Responses to Current and former public officials and employees from small Northern Iowa town charged with felony crimes after investigation

  1. Avatar

    Boss Hog Reply Report comment

    February 15, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    Investigation of city officials of Manly,Iowa for similar crimes

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 14, 2021 at 6:33 am

    No mugshot of Boss Hog? Pigs protect their own I guess.