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Published: Friday, 11/18/2011

Ex-Luna Pier official faces felony

$32,000 embezzlement alleged


LUNA PIER -- The former executive director of the city Housing Commission has been charged with embezzling more than $32,000 in federal money from the agency between 2007 and 2010.

Kay Jean Axel, 54, of Erie Township used credit cards to pay for personal items during the three-year period and then used federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funds to pay for the charges, according to information filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

The Housing Commission board fired Mrs. Axel in January, 2010.

Mary Liechty, board president, said her dismissal was unrelated to the investigation into the missing funds, adding that she was let go because she was an "at-will" employee.

The commission oversees HUD housing complexes in the city for senior citizens and low-income families.

Gina Balaya, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorneys' Office, said a date has not been set for Mrs. Axel to be arraigned or enter a possible plea in the case. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the felony theft charge.

Mrs. Axel is president of the Middle School Parent Teacher Association in the Mason Consolidated School District.

Superintendent David Drewyor said she asked to meet with him Friday, at which time she is expected to step down.

"I suspect she is going to resign," he said.

Mrs. Axel, the mother of two children in Mason schools, was among parents who organized the unsuccessful recall election in 2009 of Mason Consolidated school board officials.

She did not return calls Thursday seeking comment.

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