LANDIS, N.C. - Leaders of a small Rowan County town are accused of inflating their salaries, at times taking home more than $250,000 a year, while passing the cost onto taxpayers.
The State Bureau of Investigations started investigating possible embezzlement in Landis in February.
The town's website posted income information for the former town manager and finance director.
Documents show former Town Manager Douglas Reed Linn had an approved salary of $69,000. His W-2 showed he took home nearly $287,000 in 2018 and nearly $346,000 in 2017.
Finance Director Ginger Gibson had an approved salary of about $59,000 a year. But, her W-2 shows she took home $216,000 in 2018 and $248,000 in 2017.
According to documents obtained by Channel 9, the salary reported on Linn's W-2 last year is higher than managers in Salisbury, Rowan County, and the governor.
Officials said both Linn and Gibson resigned in February when police and the SBI announced its embezzlement investigation.
Friday, the Interim Finance Officer Captain Roger Hosey told Channel 9's Tina Terry in a statement, "When we discovered the discrepancies between the approved salary amounts and the W-2 amounts, we were shocked, disappointed, and outraged.
Authorities said rather than reporting employee incomes individually, they said the finance director reported all salaries in one lump sum, which made it difficult to tell who was making what.
Resident Tonya Goodman said she knew Landis was under an SBI investigation for possible embezzlement.
She said now, she understands how serious the claims are.
"That was a surprise to see that much money. I think everybody was shocked about that," Goodman said. "If you have a good job, insurance, 401K, everything provided. If you want a higher paying job, go elsewhere and seek that, rather than trying to undercut the actual town."
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