Anoka County court administrator resigns months after investigation

  • Article by: PAUL LEVY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 10, 2014 - 11:29 PM

She won’t face charges for alleged improper expenses.

Jennifer Schlieper, Anoka County’s district court administrator, resigned Thursday, months after she was investigated for allegedly having charged $2,500 in personal expenses to the state.

The Hennepin County attorney’s office decided last month, after reviewing the Anoka County sheriff’s report, that Schlieper, 36, will not face charges.

Schlieper, who oversaw the court’s $5.5 million annual operating budget, resigned on a day that district judges were scheduled to meet, possibly to discuss her future.

“She did tender her resignation, and Chief Judge [John C.] Hoffman accepted it,” said Michael Moriarty, Schlieper’s supervisor.

Schlieper, who had been on administrative leave for more than three months, could not be reached for comment.

She allegedly violated policy by charging to the state an upgrade of her boyfriend’s seat on an airline flight, a rental car for nearly $800 at a training conference at which colleagues took taxis and hotel shuttles, and groceries, according to the 122-page Anoka County sheriff’s report, obtained by the Star Tribune.

Of the $2,532.95 allegedly misused, all but $218 has been recovered, the sheriff’s report said.

Schlieper, who was hired in 2011, was paid nearly $100,000 in salary. In addition to budget duties, she and staff processed $10 million in fines and revenue annually for Anoka County’s court system.

A state audit found that Schlieper charged purchases to the state in December 2012 and last September and October that included cellphone cases, snacks and Christmas cards. When a conference in Baltimore was finished last fall, Schlieper kept a rental car for “vacation” use, according to the sheriff’s report.

After judicial accounting staff asked Schlieper for receipts and how some of the expenses were work-related, she wrote a check for $1,037.68. It was returned for insufficient funds, according to a memo from the state auditor’s office. Schlieper told management she had stopped payment on the check, according to a state auditor’s e-mail to an Anoka County sheriff’s investigator.

Nearly three weeks later, she wrote another check to the state, for $1,617.19. That check was held by the state, for reasons that are not explained in the sheriff’s report.

When Hennepin County, reviewing the case to avoid a conflict of interest in Anoka County, decided there was not enough evidence to convict Schlieper, the case was returned to the judges who had hired Schlieper. They met last month but took no action.

Before becoming Anoka County court administrator, Schlieper spent 10 years managing Washington County’s criminal court division and the finances for that county’s court system.

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419

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