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Fri, April 26

Kingman Council: One action criticized, but another one earns major kudos

The City Council at today's meeting will discuss legal action against a Phoenix-based auditing firm that purportedly failed to detect the alleged embezzlement of more than $1 million from Kingman by former budget analyst Diane Richards.

The City Council at today's meeting will discuss legal action against a Phoenix-based auditing firm that purportedly failed to detect the alleged embezzlement of more than $1 million from Kingman by former budget analyst Diane Richards.

KINGMAN - And she didn't even get a permit.

One child's impressive fundraising efforts for a critically ill 2-year-old girl she never met will be honored today when the Kingman City Council holds its first meeting of May.

Mayor Richard Anderson and Fire Chief Jake Rhoades will take part in a special presentation recognizing Taylee Mote, who raised more than $500 for toddler Natalie Willard and Willard's family.

Mote heard about Willard, who in February was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and is undergoing chemotherapy at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Natalie's parents left Kingman to be with their daughter and both have lost their jobs. The cost of treatment and travel has been substantial.

"When 8-year-old Taylee Mote learned of Natalie's diagnosis and realized that her family needed help, she immediately jumped into action, despite not knowing Natalie or the Willard family," wrote City Clerk Sydney Muhle in an email to the Miner.

And so, Taylee opened what could be one of the most successful one-day lemonade stands since young entrepreneurs began selling the beverage to New York City street car riders in 1879.

On March 5, Taylee earned "an incredible" $550.50, said Muhle. Anderson and Rhoades, she said will thank Mote for her "selfless act and dedication to helping those around her in need."

The mayor's letter of commendation describes Taylee as "a shining example to all of us of what selfless love, kindness, and compassion truly are."

The presentation will take place shortly after the meeting begins at 5:30 p.m., inside Council chambers at City Hall, 310 N. Fourth Street.

The second most interesting discussion will take place at the end of the meeting and will be held in closed executive session.

On the agenda is a request from City Attorney Carl Cooper, who will discuss with Anderson and Council members "legal action" against the city's former auditors, Heinfeld & Meech, "for their failure to detect the activities of former budget analyst Diane Richards."

Richards allegedly embezzled more than $1 million from a city account over an eight-year period. She has been charged with multiple theft-related counts and awaits trial.

In another item of high interest, the Council could decide to see if voters want to put up for sale the roughly 168 acres of public land that is home to the proposed Kingman Crossing commercial development.

If so, the issue would appear as a measure on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot. This is the most important step that would be taken on the project, a retail development that would require a fourth traffic interchange on Interstate 40, this one in eastern Kingman between Stockton Hill Road and Rattlesnake Wash.

If voters approve the sale, the city would seek a developer or a consortium of developers to pay for the interchange and bring in retail outlets and restaurants.

The city is particularly in need of businesses that sell clothing, shoes, electronics and other items.

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