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Clinton County sheriff and wife charged with official misconduct

Between their salaries, pensions, disability and money from Leonne LLC, state police said the couple made $639,363 in two years.

CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. — Clinton County Sheriff Richard Kelly and his wife, Ashley, the jail matron, are accused of official misconduct and criminal conflict of interest.

According to court documents, the couple contracted with Leonne LLC to manage the commissary operations at the Clinton County Jail. It turns out the Kellys are the sole owners of Leonne LLC.

The allegations against the couple said they did not fill out a conflict of interest disclosure. The sheriff essentially entered into a contract with himself and his wife.

Ashley would allegedly write checks from the commissary profits to their company. The deposits into Leonne LLC totaled more than $177,000 in the first two years. Richard would also spend money from the Leonne LLC account. That $177,000 was in addition to what the couple made with his salary as sheriff and her salary as matron. The sheriff's salary over the two years totaled $186,869 with nearly $100,000 going into his pension. Ashley's salary over the two years totaled $99,198. Between their salaries, pensions, disability and money from Leonne LLC, state police said the couple made $639,363 in two years.

An Indiana State Police investigation found an administrative assistant at the sheriff's office did not know what or who Leonne LLC even was for more than two years. A county commissioner also told investigators they were not aware what or who Leonne LLC was. 

ISP said the couple did file a disclosure in October 2021, but initially would not provide documents to investigators and the sheriff initially denied them talking to his employees without first going through his attorney. 

ISP said efforts to conduct a recorded interview with the sheriff and his wife were made, but they did not agree to it.

On Friday evening, Sheriff Kelly emailed this statement to 13News:

"Given the timeline of events, this is nothing more than a political farse.  The items being contested are still in civil litigation in Tippecanoe County Court and are the same contained in the SBOA findings from last year and our subsequent response.  My wife and I look forward to continuing our efforts to increase public safety with the hiring of new deputies and jail staff, made possible by the nearly $1,500,000 federal inmate project that we brought into the community in 2020.  We plan on announcing our medical savings to the county of over $388,000 for 2021 in the next week.  We also look forward to expanding our jail programs to a Jail Chemical Addiction Program (JCAP) that will incorporate more services to the recovery of inmates.  We will continue our successful programs, saving taxpayers money, reducing recidivism and providing state of the art technology, equipment and training to all members of our agency."

- Sheriff Rich Kelly

Sheriff Kelly will have his initial hearing on the charges March 14.

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