Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Former Tower clerk-treasurer charged with felony

Linda Keith faces next court appearance on Dec. 19

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 11/24/19

TOWER—Former Tower City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith is now facing a felony charge stemming from her acknowledged destruction of a city-owned laptop computer earlier this year. The complaint, which …

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Former Tower clerk-treasurer charged with felony

Linda Keith faces next court appearance on Dec. 19

Posted

TOWER—Former Tower City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith is now facing a felony charge stemming from her acknowledged destruction of a city-owned laptop computer earlier this year. The complaint, which became public on Thursday, charges Keith with Damage to Property in the First Degree, with total damage in excess of $1,000. That’s the threshold that elevates the charge to a felony, punishable by up to five years in custody or a $10,000 fine.

The charges have been expected for months after Keith told city officials and a Breitung police officer on June 20 that she had destroyed the city-owned laptop. “Specifically, the Defendant stated her son had used it to shoot at, it had been run over with her truck, and other parts of it were burned,” states the complaint. Keith further informed Breitung police officer Jason Sanderson that she had no parts remaining from the computer.

The Breitung officer was present at Tower City Hall at approximately 4:22 p.m. on June 20, when Keith arrived as part of a pre-arranged visit to claim some personal items from her desk.

The city council had placed Keith on administrative suspension days earlier and had directed her to return the laptop computer during the same visit to city hall.

The complaint, drafted by the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, notes that Keith had been directed to return the laptop and had never been given permission to destroy the device.

The laptop was an HP EliteBook 850 valued at $1,999.

The latest complaint further complicates Keith’s legal situation. She had been scheduled for a court hearing on Nov. 20 related to a separate charge of falsifying official city records, but that hearing was rescheduled to Dec. 19 at 9:30 a.m. given the additional charge.

Keith has filed a grievance through her Teamsters Union representative over her removal from office, but the union has not pressed the issue in recent weeks given the criminal charges Keith is facing. The city and Keith did approve a separation agreement in August, but Keith subsequently rescinded her signature, which, per the agreement, led to her automatic dismissal.

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Del Cecchi

How old was this laptop? I find it hard to believe that Tower had any need for a $2000 laptop. Highest price for fancy version at HP web site is $1299. Middle of road version is about $800

Wednesday, November 27
Del Cecchi

I went back and reread another story. The computer in question was 6 years old!!

A six year old laptop has a value of maybe $100, in running condition.

Wednesday, November 27
Ilk

DC

The county attorney has charged first degree and will have some warrant to that argument but in reality we know if this is her first offense it most likely will be pled down. In any event it does not lessen the fact that she had the public trust, betrayed it and obviously sought to destroy any incriminating evidence of such. Just imagine telling the judge you shot the city computer, then ran over it with a car and then set it on fire. I would like to see the judge’s face when the prosecutor presents and then the defense trying to claim no nefarious intent.

Wednesday, November 27