Former legislative employee charged with two felonies relating to theft of retirement gift

DOVER — A former employee of the General Assembly has been charged with two felonies for allegedly stealing a retiring colleague’s farewell fund.

The Delaware Department of Justice announced Tuesday Dawn Hill, the executive assistant for the Controller General’s Office, has been indicted on one count of felony theft over $1,500 with a victim over the age of 62 years old and one count of felony issuing a bad check over $1,500. 

Ms. Hill is alleged to have misused thousands of dollars raised by lawmakers, legislative employees and others in 2018 as a farewell gift for retiring Senate secretary Bernard Brady. Senators surprised Mr. Brady on the final night of session two years ago with a fund so he could take a vacation to Ireland.

According to the Department of Justice, however, he never received the money.

The agency said Ms. Hill collected the money and put it in her bank account. More than a year later, authorities said, she wrote a check to Mr. Brady for $2,790 from her personal account, which had been closed for more than nine months. 

“Crimes committed by public servants attack the core of our public’s trust, and holding those individuals accountable is the best way to restore that faith,” Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in a statement. “This is why the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust was created, and stands as an example of what it does each day to ensure that nobody is above the law. From the Delaware State Police to the legislative leaders who reported the allegations to the prosecutors who brought the case, I’m proud of the collaboration to seek justice for the victim and am grateful to everyone whose efforts helped secure this indictment.”

Ms. Hill has worked as an executive assistant for the controller general since 2008, according to her LinkedIn, which describes her duties as, among other things, handling administrative operations, human resources and “financial duties with special projects as required.”

She has also sat in for the controller general on task forces and regularly interacted with legislators, especially the 24 serving on the two budget committees.

The Controller General’s Office is responsible for disbursing funds approved by the legislature and plays an integral role in crafting the budget.

Per Ms. Hill’s LinkedIn, she had worked continually for the state since 1996. State financial records indicate she made a little more than $66,000 in 2019.

It’s unclear exactly when she was let go from the Controller General’s Office, but she was placed on paid leave around the end of 2019. Her absence in Legislative Hall was noted by some in January, although no one would speak on the record about the situation at the time.

Controller General Mike Morton, who has been in charge of the office since 2012, did not respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday.

Legislative leaders also declined to speak on the matter Tuesday, referring questions to Mr. Morton.