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The Antelope County treasurer pleaded guilty to public official-misuse of property/funds on Thursday morning.
County treasurer Sandra Knapp, 59, of Neligh appeared with her attorney Ted Lohrberg. She faced charges of official misconduct, a Class II misdemeanor; and public official-misuse of property/funds, a Class III misdemeanor. The charges were filed by the Nebraska Attorney General's office.
Knapp plead guilty to the second count while the first was dismissed pursuant to a plea agreement. Assistant Attorney General Laura Nigro was appointed special prosecutor, and Judge Alan Brodbeck presided over the case. He was appointed to the case on Dec. 31.
Brodbeck adjudged Knapp guilty of the charges and ordered her to pay a $500 fine, plus $49 in court costs. She is required to pay the amount, in full, by July 1, 2015.
Nigro didn't offer any recommendations on sentencing due to the fact that Knapp had already taken responsibility for her actions and repaid her delinquent taxes, plus interest. The defense attorney previously alleged that Knapp was delinquent on her personal property taxes for three years, and the property was subject to be listed in the annual tax sales, but was not.
Lohrberg said Knapp had gotten behind on her taxes due to some medical bills and did not publish them to save herself some embarrassment. He said she had always intended to pay the taxes attached to her property.
"This actually cost her a whole lot more embarrassment," he said. Lohrberg said she has no criminal record, and he believed a fine would be an appropriate sentence.
Judge Brodbeck said the list of public officials on the Antelope County website indicate that Knapp is still the treasurer for the county; however, he didn't think that would be the case if the voters knew about these allegations. Lohrberg told the judge that the public had been aware of the case, as she was just re-elected.
"Perhaps that says something about the citizens of Antelope County being forgiving," the judge said. In fact, Brodbeck said he considered imposing a jail sentence, but decided against it after learning the voters re-elected her.
Knapp has served as the Antelope County treasurer since 1995 and was reelected to the office in the November 2014 election.