Mayor of Lake Park denies misusing sister's money

  • Updated: August 17, 2013 - 4:59 PM

A western Minnesota mayor purchased a computer with funds that were supposed to be spent on room and board for his sister with Down syndrome.

That’s the gist of a felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult complaint filed against Lake Park Mayor Aaron Wittnebel, 32, who is scheduled to make his first appearance Monday in Becker County District Court in Detroit Lakes.

The mayor of the town of 800 people, 33 miles east of Fargo, N.D., will stay in office as the case continues.

According to the complaint, Wittnebel admitted that he “co-mingled” his money with funds he was supposed to oversee as his sister’s guardian. Investigators determined that more than $5,400 of her Social Security checks were “unaccounted for” while receipts show the mayor bought a laptop computer, a wireless router and groceries.

Wittnebel’s attorney, Joe Irby, said the charges are exaggerated and the mayor “denies doing anything wrong.”

CURT BROWN

@stribcbrown

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