By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Former City Clerk Kathleen Buda pled not guilty to seven felony counts of embezzlement and common law offenses May 5 in Wayne County Circuit Court.
Her plea was given during an arraignment on information in front of Judge Gregory Bill. A pre-trial conference was set for 9 a.m. May 17 in circuit court.
On April 21, Buda, 65, waived her preliminary examination of the evidence against her in 19th District Court and the case bond over to circuit court.
Buda was arraigned on seven felony counts of embezzlement and common law offenses on Feb. 9 in 19th District Court.
District Court Judge Mark Somers read the charges which included one count of embezzlement by a public official, three counts of larceny in a building and three counts of misconduct in office.
Embezzlement by a public official comes with a maximum of 10 years in prison or a $5,000 fine; each count of larceny in a building has a maximum of four years in jail or a $5,000 fine; and each count of misconduct in office comes with a maximum of five years in jail or $10,000 fine. Somers ordered Buda to surrender her passport and was given a $50,000 personal bond.
The Prosecutor’s Office wrote the following in a statement, “From November 12, 2015, through December 12, 2015, it is alleged that Ms. Buda appropriated cash from an office cash box on multiple occasions.
Michigan State Police raided the clerk’s office at the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave. in December 2015 for an embezzlement investigation after an employee discovered money missing from the cash box. When the investigation was completed by MSP, information collected was given to the Prosecutor’s Office before charges were issued.
Buda then announced that she would retire from her position in February 2016 and then-Deputy Clerk Lola Isiminger would take over. Buda worked for the city for 20 years and was first elected as city clerk in 1997 and was last re-elected in 2013.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)