State's attorney lists witnesses in park district employee trial

State's attorney lists witnesses in park district employee trial

PAXTON — The state is prepared to call eight police officers and a certified public accountant as witnesses to testify in the felony theft trial of former Paxton Park District employee Beth Tabor.

In preparation for Tabor's scheduled July 12 jury trial, a list of the state's possible witnesses was filed by Ford County State's Attorney Matt Fitton on April 23.

The witness list names officers from three investigating agencies — the Paxton Police Department, Ford County sheriff's office and District 21 Illinois State Police — and a CPA from Management Accounting Services in Champaign.

Their written and recorded statements are contained in various reports that Fitton has already filed in circuit court but are not being released to the public. The reports include a 24-page state police report, a 62-page credit card report from Paxton police, a 188-page Management Accounting Services report and 269 pages of Sam's Club credit card statements.

Tabor, 43, of Paxton, a former administrative assistant for the park district, was charged on Feb. 21 with one count of felony theft (between $10,000 and $100,000) for allegedly using park district credit cards to buy approximately $50,000 in personal merchandise over a four-year period. The Class 2 felony is punishable by up to four years of probation to a maximum of three to seven years in prison.

On April 3, Tabor waived a preliminary hearing, and the case was set for trial on July 12. A pretrial hearing was set for 2:30 p.m. May 29.

Eric Evans, the park board's president, said the park district asked police to investigate the possibility of misappropriated funds after Tabor was laid off in May 2011. Before asking for an investigation, Evans said, the park district conducted its own audit.

"We had a forensic accountant come in, and he checked everything out and found some stuff that just wasn't kosher," Evans said in February.

Numerous items that were believed to have been purchased with park district credit cards for Tabor's personal use were recovered from Tabor's home, police have said.