WALL, TX — The Wall Co-Op Gin categorically denied its board members directed its former manager, Mina Abbott, to commit crop insurance fraud. In a letter sent exclusively to San Angelo LIVE!, Wall Co-Op Gin attorney Gary McLaren was emphatic.
“At no time did the seven-member board of Wall Co-op Gin order, or direct, its former General Manager to commit or assist in crop insurance fraud. To state, or imply, that the cooperative’s board of directors took such an action is defamatory of the co-op,” McLaren stated.
“The former employee was terminated by the cooperative’s board of directors as a result of discrepancies discovered during the course of an ongoing audit of the coop’s financial records and other information obtained by the board of directors relating to that employee,” McLaren stated.
Yesterday, we broke the story about a warrant signed by 391st District Judge Brad Goodwin to search the home of Mina Abbott on August 10. According to the narrative of the search warrant, Abbott, who was fired as the manager of the Co-Op weeks prior to the warrant, made an outcry to former County Judge candidate Todd Kolls that she had written checks to herself off the Co-Op’s banking account that could amount to “several hundred thousand dollars.” Kolls told Sheriff Nick Hanna and Hanna launched a criminal investigation.
In the midst of Abbott’s confession to Kolls, the sheriff’s detective wrote, “Mina told him that she was also directed by some board members of the Wall Co-Op to commit/assist with crop insurance fraud.”
A search warrant is an official court document intended to convince a judge to agree to allow a search by law enforcement to be executed of a private citizen or the citizen's home. McLaren argued that the Wall Co-Op gin was the “victim” of the criminal investigation of the actions taken by a former employee, Abbott, who was fired and though McLaren did not specifically state this, Abbott likely has an ax to grind.
“The cooperative has fully cooperated with law enforcement and the investigation into these matters and will continue to do so,” McLaren stated.
“Just as your story made clear that Todd Kolls was not the target of any investigation, similarly Wall Co-op Gin is also neither the ‘target’ nor ‘subject’ of any investigation,” McLaren stated.
McLaren also stated that the Wall Co-Op Gin is governed by a board of seven who are elected by the Co-Op’s membership. Not stated in McLaren’s letter was that none of the members of the board have been removed by the membership since the ordeal with Ms. Abbott began in July.
At 6:37 minutes in on yesterday's LIVE! Daily News Show, we provided our thoughts about the Wall Co-Op Gin situation:
Everything We Know About the Wall Co-Op Investigation