Residents in Lake Station, Indiana sounded off at a city council meeting tonight, just hours after the mayor and his wife were indicted on charges they misused campaign funds and stole money from a local food pantry.
44-year-old Keith Soderquist and his wife, Deborah, his administrative assistant, pleaded not guilty to charges of taking money from the mayor’s campaign finance account and the city’s food pantry then spending it at casinos in Indiana and Michigan.
The indictment even included charges against the mayor’s stepdaughter. The Soderquists are also accused of helping her dodge the law after she allegedly stole $5,000 from the Lake Station City Court.
Prosecutors alleged the Soderquists took money from his campaign funds and used them on personal expenses, including gambling, in violation of state law, and did not report the money as income on their tax returns. The indictment also states in July 2012 the couple withdrew $300 from the town’s food pantry and a few hours later were gambling at the casino. The couple had gambling losses of $45,000 in 2010, $32,000 in 2011 and $27,000 in 2012, according to the indictment.
Defense attorney Scott L. King said the money the Soderquists took from the campaign accounts was reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses, and the couple was not required to claim the cash as income.
-Chicago Tribune contributed to this report