Buda embezzlement case transferred to circuit court

Photo courtesy of the city of Dearborn
Kathleen Buda

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Former City Clerk Kathleen Buda waived her preliminary examination April 21 in 19th District Court, and the case was bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court.

An arraignment on information is now scheduled at 9 a.m. on May 5 in circuit court.

Buda, 65, was arraigned on seven felony counts of embezzlement and common law offenses on Feb. 9 in 19th District Court. Judge Mark Somers read the charges which included one count of embezzlement by a public official, three counts of larceny in a building and three counts of misconduct in office.

Embezzlement by a public official comes with a maximum of 10 years in prison or a $5,000 fine; each count of larceny in a building has a maximum of four years in jail or a $5,000 fine; and each count of misconduct in office comes with a maximum of five years in jail or $10,000 fine. Somers ordered Buda to surrender her passport and was given a $50,000 personal bond.

During the arraignment on Feb. 9, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Molly Kettler did not give an exact amount of money that was allegedly taken from the city clerk’s cash box, but said “it was hundreds of dollars.”

The Prosecutor’s Office wrote the following in a statement, “From November 12, 2015, through December 12, 2015, it is alleged that Ms. Buda appropriated cash from an office cash box on multiple occasions. The specific facts and evidence will be introduced in court at the preliminary examination.”

Michigan State Police raided the clerk’s office at the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave. in December 2015 for an embezzlement investigation after an employee discovered money missing from the cash box.

When the investigation was completed by MSP, information collected was given to the Prosecutor’s Office before charges were issued.

Buda announced that she would retire from her position in February 2016 and then-Deputy Clerk Lola Isiminger would take over.

Buda worked for the city for 20 years and was first elected as city clerk in 1997 and was last re-elected in 2013.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)