Sioux City Businessman Accused of Stealing from Iowa DOT
(SIOUX CITY/NEVADA,IA) A Sioux City man is accused of helping steal about a quarter of a million dollars from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
Investigators allege 59-year-old Grady Marx was working With a DOT employee from central Iowa who'd been stealing money for 14 years.
Marx and David Weigel were arrested over the weekend after a two year investigation and together are accused of stealing more than $407,000.
The Iowa DOT says the investigation began after a concerned farmer who leased land from the DOT asked them to look into Mr. Weigel.
Trucks, motorcycles and even a Rolls Royce were just a few of the things taken during Saturday's raid.
"We only seized what we had evidence to support were fruits of the offense. For example we had to prove that illicitly gained money was the purchasing element for these elements of property that we're seized," says Gerard Meyers, with the Iowa Department of Public Safety Field Operations.
Prosecutors say David Weigel stole more than $230,000 from the Iowa DOT -- but it wasn't a solo act. Sioux City Businessman Grady Marx was allegedly in on it too.
"He was a beneficiary and a participant in some of the illicit transactions," says Meyers.
It all began in 1997. Weigel worked for the Department of Transportation, selling and leasing state property. Court documents say he kept some of the money for himself. Marx is accused of entering into scheme years later, helping Weigel funnel money from DOT land purchases into his accounts.
Weigel also paid Marx to mow DOT land but prosecutors say Marx kicked back half the money to Weigel.
Grady Marx owns Marx Distribution Company in Sioux City. An employee said Mr. Marx was not available for comment.
A DOT spokesman says the entire investigation was a shock.
"It's very disappointing. You have a person put in a position of authority that you have given trust and unfortunately that is somebody who abused that authority," says Pete Hjelmstad, with the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
But things have changed in the two years since the allegations surfaced.
"When we do leases they are now all reviewed and approved at two levels to make sure the state is getting fair market rent. Things like mowing, snow removal, hauling of debris, they are more managed by a process which requires a contract with the vendor," says Hjelmstad.
The DOT says these changes will hopefully keep something like this from happening again.
Weigel is currently at the Polk County Jail on a $55,000 bond. Marx was booked at the Woodbury County Jail but was released after he posted $50,000.
Weigel, of Nevada, Iowa was charged with Theft in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit Theft, On-going Criminal Conduct, Money Laundering and Felonious Misconduct in Office. Marx of Sioux City, Iowa was also arrested and charged with Theft in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, On-going Criminal Conduct, and Money Laundering.
IFIT is requesting the public's assistance in this case. Individuals who have made check or cash payments to David Weigel, or to individuals or companies other than the DOT, for the purchase or rent of DOT land, may have information that can assist law enforcement in this case. Please call the IFIT office at 515-725-6290.
Marx Distribution Company is a separate business from nearby Marx Truck Trailer Sales. Marx Truck Trailer Sales is not involved in the investigation and is not owned by Grady Marx.