(Clarification) Former Denison Fire Chief intends to pleads guilty to theft charge


November 9th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The former Fire Chief in Denison intends to plead guilty to a theft charge associated with funds missing from the City of Denison. The Omaha World Herald had reported in its Friday edition, that Michael McKinnon, a native of Clarinda, pled guilty to 1st degree theft. However, according to the Crawford County District Clerk’s office, McKinnon’s attorney, F. Montgomery Brown, submitted to the Court a “Notice of intent to plead guilty“.

The notice said McKinnon would plead guilty to a felony Theft in the First Degree charge and pay $9,265, the amount Crawford County incurred for the audit report, in exchange for the State dropping the second felony count of Misconduct. His appearance before a 3rd District Court Judge is set to take place January 7th. At that time McKinnon can follow-through by pleading according to the terms presented in the intent letter, or make a different plea.

As we reported last year, McKinnon left his employment as fire chief amid questionable purchases made by him and questionable payments made to him for training and equipment. A complaint was filed in Crawford County charging McKinnon with Theft in the First Degree, a Class C Felony, and Felonious Misconduct in Office, a Class D Felony. A report by the State Auditor’s Office last year, said questionable expenditures were made by McKinnon while he served as the Denison Fire Chief from 1999 to 2010. The 20 month investigation was prompted by the concern of local officials, and focused on the period from 2005 to 2010.

The questionable expenditures amounted to nearly $96,000. The audit identified a number of purchases that were improper or did not have proper documentation, including webcams, GPS units, a television, a riding lawnmower and snowblade and clothing. The audit also found thousands of dollars paid to businesses owned by McKinnon and included invoices with addresses for post office boxes in Des Moines that did not exist.

McKinnon is currently employed as a fire science program instructor at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico.