Ex-clerk Miranda Brakley, stepdaughter of Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist, told to repay $37,000

Audit finds unapproved pay

LAKE STATION, Ind. - The State Board of Accounts is asking a former city court clerk, who is also the mayor's stepdaughter, to repay $37,182 in unapproved pay and the additional state examination costs.

In an audit just released by the State Board of Accounts , auditors said Miranda Brakley, stepdaughter of Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist in Lake County, owes $13,160 for unapproved leave, $664 for bond collections not received or deposited and $23,358 for the additional cost of the audit.

In a response to the state, Judge Christopher Anderson said Brakley was terminated on June 7, 2012.

On Dec. 10, 2012, Brakley presented a bank bag with cash she reportedly held in her personal vehicle from the time of her dismissal, according to the audit.

The bag contained $15,800 of the missing bond collections.

"The City Court does not tolerate funds being misappropriated or stolen," the response read. "In addition, procedures are being put in place to prevent funds from being misappropriated in the future."

In a written response to the state, Brakley’s attorney said Brakley did not misappropriate funds.

"From all reports, Ms. Brakley was a pawn in a political battle between the presiding Judge of the City Court and other branches of government in Lake Station," the response from attorney Scott King read.

King told RTV6 his client is not facing criminal charges.

"We are preparing to file a civil suit against the City Court judge for her wrongful termination from her position,” King wrote in an email to RTV6.

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