Mary Leonard, former clerk of the City of Willow River, appeared for the first time in court at the Pine County Courthouse on Tuesday, April 2, with Judge James T. Reuter presiding.
“You are appearing for your first appearance,” stated Judge Reuter to Leonard. “You have one count against you of theft by swindle with a maximum penalty of not more than 20 years or a $100,000 fine.” Leonard is accused of stealing more than $167,000 from the city of Willow River.
Judge Reuter continued by stating, “You, by swindling, obtained property or services from May 2009 to August 2012 from the city of Willow River by writing and forging checks under the mayor’s name, cashing the checks and logging checks onto the computer under a legitimate account.”
Leonard stated that she could not afford an attorney having zero income, no cash, no checking or savings account, no real estate or personal belongings exceeding $100 and was granted services by a publicly funded attorney. The judge stated that Daniel Bina will be her defending attorney.
Conditions of her release until the next court date were set by Judge Reuter. Leonard is not allowed to enter any gambling establishments, participate in gambling activities of any kind and may not have any contact with Willow River officials.
Residents and officials from the city of Willow River were in attendance, along with friends and family of Leonard, totaling 12 people. A spokesperson for the city of Willow River stated that they were there to support the city.
Leonard’s next court appearance will be on May 24 at 9 a.m.