Former Wascott official gets jail sentence

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A former Wascott town official will spend six months in jail for stealing from the taxpayers.

Valda Bremanis, 66, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., pleaded guilty to a felony charge of misconduct in public office in September in Douglas County Circuit Court.

Judge George Glonek handed down the sentence today.

The charges stem from the theft of more than $72,000 from the town of Wascott when Bremanis served as the town's first combined clerk/treasurer.

Janice Newsome, a resident of Wascott, discovered discrepancies more than five years ago when she started requesting public records and tracking fund balances.

"An elected official has the fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the public," Newsome said, reading from her victim impact statement. "The public has the right to demand strict standards of diligence, responsibility and honesty. Honest public service means being conscientious, loyal, faithful, disinterested and unbiased. Honest public service is performed free of deceit, undue influence, conflict of interest, self-enrichment, self-dealing, concealment, bribery, fraud and corruption."

Newsome said Bremanis conducted more than 100 unlawful acts between 2001 and 2008.

Under the terms outlined by the judge, Bremanis can serve the sentence in Florida at no expense to Douglas County, if it can be arranged; however, Glonek denied a request for Huber release made by Bremanis' attorney, Rick Gondik, so she could continue volunteer work she does there.

Bremanis has 30 days to arrange to serve her sentence in Florida and get verification to the county jail or she must report to the Douglas County Jail on Dec. 14 to serve the jail time.

In addition, Bremanis was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and submit a DNA sample, plus pay all related court costs and surcharges

"I am extremely sorry for everything I did," Bremanis told the court this afternoon. "I am most sorry for letting down people who had trust in me."