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Fired parking boss gave up $8,000 in pay, vacation time

2013-06-11T08:29:00Z 2013-06-11T08:53:20Z Fired parking boss gave up $8,000 in pay, vacation timeBy Ed Kemmick Billings Gazette Helena Independent Record
June 11, 2013 8:29 am  • 

BILLINGS — Chris Mallow, the city's former Parking Division supervisor who was accused of stealing about $10,000 in parking fines, gave up more than $8,000 in pay and other compensation when he was fired last month.

According to documents released by the city on Monday, Mallow also told city officials that he frequently used the stolen money to gamble and eat at restaurants.

Mallow was fired on May 24 and on June 5 he was charged in Justice Court with felony theft by embezzlement. He has not yet entered a plea in court, but his termination letter says that he "admitted all the allegations" contained in an earlier due-process letter.

The letter of termination informs Mallow that his final paycheck, totaling $2,271.20 was being withheld, as was longevity pay of $687.50 and compensation for personal days totaling $454.24.

In addition, $4,844.61 -- the value of 170.65 unused vacation hours -- was also withheld. The letter says state law prohibits the city from withholding accrued sick leave, so Mallow was given a check for $762.22, reflecting a 25 percent payout of his accrued sick leave.

When Mallow was charged with a felony, an affidavit filed by Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito outlined an investigation conducted by Billings Police Detective Jamie Schillinger.

The due-process letter, written by Assistant City Administrator Bruce McCandless and dated May 14, describes a parallel investigation conducted by McCandless and human resources manager Karla Stanton, with some assistance from other Parking Division employees.

According to that letter, Mallow was monitored in February and April of this year, after possible thefts of fines were noticed in the Parking Division.

McCandless and Stanton created imitation parking tickets and monitored what Mallow would do with the money used to pay them, and at one point they searched his desk, files and other property in his city office.

Mallow was placed on paid administrative leave on April 12, and on April 22 McCandless and Stanton confronted him with the findings of their investigation. Mallow confessed to stealing funds starting in late 2012 or early 2013, according to the due-process letter. He was also accused of falsifying records to hide his thefts.

When Mallow was interviewed again on May 14, McCandless said their investigation had revealed that he had "been stealing City funds for many months longer than you previously admitted and that the total is approximately $10,000."

The letter says Mallow admitted lying in the earlier interview and he said he'd been taking money since the winter of 2011-12.

On the day he was suspended, the letter continues, "You admitted that there was over $500 cash in your office desk ... and that some of it came from the ticket envelopes and some of it was from gambling."

McCandless and Stanton conducted a due-process hearing for Mallow on May 23. The termination letter said he chose to attend the hearing without a legal or personal representative and admitted engaging in theft, embezzlement and fraud.

Mallow, 35, had managed the Parking Division for seven years and most recently was paid $59,051 a year.

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