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Status conference bumped in embezzlement
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DARLINGTON - A status conference scheduled to take place Friday in the case of a deceased treasurer accused of embezzling funds from the Gratiot Fire District has been postponed to Sept. 12.

The late Robert Lee Hermanson, former treasurer of the fire district in Lafayette County, died of an apparent suicide April 9, the day after he was asked about the lack of money in the fire district fund. Gratiot Village attorney Duane Jorgenson said municipal officials found unexplained expenses pulled from the fire district's checking account. The funds were allegedly stolen over the past five years.

The municipality filed a complaint against Hermanson's estate on May 9 for $134,229 on behalf of the Village of Gratiot, Town of Gratiot and Gratiot Fire District. The amount of money sought in the complaint was amended to $104,182.59 on Aug. 4, according to court records.

Jorgenson said Friday that the municipality is not ready to go to court yet because the Lafayette County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the possibility of additional funds that may be located in a locked safe.

The status conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in Lafayette County Circuit Court.