Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Florence in pursuit of assets remaining after Epling's death



By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FLORENCE - In an attempt to recover nearly $3 million stolen by former finance director Ronald Epling, the city is suing 11 people or businesses, including Epling's wife and girlfriend.

The city is seeking "all assets wherever we can find them," said Florence Mayor Diane Whalen. "We are on a mission and will not stop until any existing assets are recovered."

Epling, who worked for the city for 15 years before his thefts were discovered, admitted to stealing $2.8 million from city coffers. He died in October after serving just seven months of his 16-year prison sentence. The lawsuit filed in Boone County Circuit Court Friday also names a Northern Kentucky hair salon chain, retirement accounts, a Florida software company, a life insurance company and Epling's estate.

Epling's wife, Billie K. Epling, and his girlfriend, Cheryl Hatter, knew or should have known about the theft, the suit states. Epling bought his wife a $700,000 home in Triple Crown and Hatter a $200,000 home in Delhi Township while he was making $66,000 a year.

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E-mail bkelly@enquirer.com




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