Former Denison Fire Chief gets 10-years in prison for theft of funds


March 26th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

A former Fire Chief in Denison was sentenced Monday to prison following his conviction  in January on a charge of 1st degree theft. The Omaha World-Herald reports that despite offering an apology to the court and pledging to repay what was stolen, District Court Judge Jeffrey Poulson sentenced 42-year old Michael McKinnon to 10-years in prison. McKinnon served as the chief from January 1999 until January 2010. He had plead guilty to the theft charge in exchange for a charge of felonious misconduct in office being dropped.

McKinnin left the department under a cloud of questions about his spending. A state audit showed $96,000 worth of fire department funds were used for his personal use. The funds were spent between 2005 and 2010, and included about $40,000 paid to businesses McKinnon owned. The spending included invoices for post office boxes that did not exist. Other spending included a riding lawn mower and a motor for his boat.

McKinnon’s attorney, F. Montomery Brown, had requested a deferred judgment and probation for his client, especially in light of a pre-sentence investigation by the Iowa Department of Corrections, which recommend he serve no prison time and instead, probation. Brown also noted that McKinnon is the sole supporter of his family and has a special needs teenage son. He  said he plans to appeal the judge’s decision.

Rob Sand, assistant attorney general for the state of Iowa, told the World-Herald McKinnon will probably end-up being paroled long before he completes his full sentence.  McKinnon has already made restitution in the amount of $14,000. Under the sentence he received Monday, McKinnon will have to pay more restitution to the city, which, according to Sand would come to about $10,000.

The paper notes McKinnon was not the only public official in western Iowa this year to be sent to prison.  Despite a similar in-court apology in January, Tammy Gammon, a former employee of the Mills County Treasurer’s Office, was sentenced to 25 years after pleading guilty to a charge of ongoing criminal conduct, for stealing more than $36,000.