PARIS – Norway Community Development Director Debbie Wyman posted $2,500 cash bail Monday, allowing her to stay out of jail until she’s arraigned on a charge of stealing town money.
Court Clerk Donna Howe said the 51-year-old Harrison woman, who is accused of taking more than $55,000 in the past three years, arrived a day earlier than ordered to post bail to assure her court appearance.
Wyman was accompanied by her attorney, Edward L. Dilworth III, of Norway, Howe said, adding the procedure took about 30 seconds.
Howe, who was out of the office Monday, said her assistant told her Wyman “looked like a model. She really didn’t say anything.”
Efforts to reach Wyman for comment were unsuccessful Monday.
Wyman was finishing a three-month leave of absence from her job when she was charged March 17, court records state. She left about Dec. 30 to stay with a friend in Fort Myers, Fla., and she finished up with a month-long cruise in the Caribbean before returning the first of April, a court affidavit states.
The investigation into the theft complaint is continuing, police Chief Rob Federico said. Forensic auditors Glen Kierstead and Jay French are poring over town and community development grant accounts for the past seven years, he said Monday night.
“I’m expecting that by the end of the week the auditors will have their report done,” he said.
Federico said the investigation, so far, indicates some town funds were transferred into Wyman’s personal checking account at KeyBank.
“She made the check out to KeyBank, not to herself, and she deposited that check into her personal account at KeyBank,” he said.
When the photocopies of canceled checks went to the town office, to her attention, he said, she would white out the name on the check, write in the name of a grant recipient or contractor doing work for a recipient, photocopy the altered photocopy and put it in town records, he said.
Town Manager David Holt said Monday night that the investigation indicates Wyman “used more than one method” to move money. “There were three or four. I really don’t fully grasp it myself,” he said.
A weary-sounding Holt said the last few weeks have taken an emotional toll on his staff.
“I’ve been concerned about that,” he said, so counselors from St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston have been provided for them.
“I’m starting to get tired,” he admitted. “I’ve been pretty angry.
“The big stumbling block for me is, working for the public is based a lot on trust. When you steal from the public, you do a considerable disservice” to those who work in that field, he said.
“I can’t go back and correct the past,” Holt said, “I have to deal with what’s in front of us.”
Wyman has been community development director for 20 years, overseeing more than $5 million in federal Community Development Block Grant money. She was paid $15 an hour for the 20-hours-per week job.
On March 20 after her arrest warrant was issued, Wyman called Holt to ask what evidence the town had against her, but she wasn’t told.
The warrant was recalled after Dilworth said Wyman would come to the courthouse after she returned to Maine in early April.
The Oxford County grand jury is expected to hear evidence against Wyman this week and determine whether to bring an indictment.