6/15/08

Judge forged Teamster official's signature

Ex-judge in fed custody while on paid leave since Jan. 18

The Scott County (IA) judge charged with fraud, forgery and identity theft dismissed traffic tickets for a woman he has provided legal counsel to and has financial ties with, documents reveal.

Kyle Williamson, 41, of Bettendorf dismissed the tickets while serving as a part-time magistrate judge in September, records show. He was named a full-time associate court judge in October. He has been on a combination of paid leave and suspension since Jan. 18, as authorities launched a criminal probe.

The tickets were issued to Stefanie Mucha, 25, of Blue Grass, Iowa. Mucha could not be reached for comment. Williamson’s attorney, Al Willett, could not be reached for comment.

According to documents in Scott County Court and the Scott County Recorder’s Office:

Mucha was arrested twice for no proof of insurance in Bettendorf in January and Davenport in June 2006. The address listed on the tickets was 301 1st Ave., Donahue, Iowa. The house is in the name of her deceased grandmother.

Mucha was arrested in June 2007 for driving while under suspension on Interstate 80 in Scott County. She listed the Donahue address as her home.

Also in June, Williamson filed a counterclaim on behalf of Mucha in a small claims dispute over electric work at the house in Donahue. He requested the case be moved from small claims to district court to allow for a higher monetary limit.

Williamson’s limited-liability company, Chicken Little Enterprises, took out a mortgage on the house at 19 Valley View Drive, Blue Grass, Iowa, in July 2007. The mortgage, signed by Williamson as organizer of Chicken Little, was for $185,000.

The owner of the house is Andrew Seibert, who lives in Baldwin City, Kan. He could not be reached for comment.

On Sept. 8, 2007, Mucha was picked up for driving under suspension and insufficient headlights in rural Scott County. Her address on that ticket was 19 Valley View Drive. She was booked into the Scott County Jail on a warrant for failure to appear in court on one of the previous charges.

On Sept. 11, Williamson dismissed the charge of driving under suspension from three days earlier, with court costs. He found her guilty of insufficient headlights and fined her $10 plus costs. He set aside the judgments on her two 2006 tickets for no proof of insurance, dismissing them with court costs. And, he dismissed the June 2007 charge of driving while suspended.

On Oct. 26, Williamson, acting as Mucha’s attorney, moved to dismiss Mucha’s small claims case to move it to district court. The filing was made three weeks after Williamson was appointed as associate court judge and two weeks before he was sworn in. The case was never refiled in district court.

In May, Mucha listed her address as 19 Valley View Drive on her grandmother’s estate case.

Williamson took the bench in November. He spent 10 weeks there before authorities launched a criminal probe into his activities. He is accused of forging the signatures of community leaders, lying to his bank and to his clients and stealing from at least one fellow attorney, according to state and federal authorities.

He faces a six-count indictment in U.S. District Court in Davenport, charging him with bank fraud, identity theft and forgery. He faces two counts of falsifying documents in Scott County District Court.

The forged signatures include those of Scott County Sheriff Dennis Conard, the president of the Teamsters Union and Judge Mary Howes, who led the committee that selected him as one of three finalists for associate court judge last fall.

Williamson is in federal custody. He had been on paid medical leave since Jan. 18 but is now on paid suspension, officials said. He makes $113,214 a year as an associate court judge. Other judges are filling in for him.

(qctimes.com)

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