Florence Taxpayers Get Money Back

The taxpayers in Florence are going to see nearly all the money they lost in an embezzlement scandal.

Almost two years ago, Finance Director Ronald Epling, was sent to prison after stealing millions of dollars in city funds.  Since then, Epling has passed away, but a settlement was reached to recover money from his assets.  The city of Florence is getting an estimated 4.1 million dollars back.

"The fact that this money was invested in real estate, retirement accounts, and other tangeable assets such as the business of Great Clips Hair Salon, has made it a much easier recovery," says Mayor Diane Whalen.

The sale of a house on Reigh Count Court in Union will go back to the city, as well as the house he bought in Cincinnati for Cheryl Hatter.

The top four returns from the settlement include:

1014 Reigh Count Court - The sales of real estate in the Triple Crown Subdivision range from 500 to 800 thousand dollars,

Epling co-mingled funds with his family business which owns several Great Clips Salons. The settlement with his widow Billie Epling for the city's interest in their family business, E'Clips: $745,000,

The settlement from the bank and auditor: $775,000,

The proceeds from various insurance policies: $1,071,000.

Those top assets and everything from travelers checks to a coin collection is estimated at 4.1 million dollars.  The potential recovery has taxpayers excited, but the Mayor says it's more of a relief.

"There's just an air of peace that comes over you when finally it's over and we're able to bring this to closure."

The exact value of the recovery will depend on the price at which the real estate is sold, the value of a coin collection, and the final balances in the various accounts.

There's an open house of the Reigh Count Court house in the Triple Crown Subdivision Sunday July 25th from 2pm-5pm.

he city will receive sealed bids for the sale of that house.