Longtime executive director of Southern Iowa Council of Governments, Timothy J. Ostroski, was arrested by Creston Police on charges of first-degree theft and four counts of forgery just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Ostroski, 70, of Creston, has served as executive director of SICOG and the Southern Iowa Development Group since February 1984. SICOG is an organization that provides economic development services through the delivery of planning services, technical program assistance and grants. Ostroski also serves as the Executive Director of the Southern Iowa COG Housing Trust Fund, Inc, a charitable foundation.
According to Creston Police reports, Ostroski fraudulently obtained an excess of $10,000 from SICOG by creating multiple checks made payable to another individual for cleaning services that were never provided. He then deposited these checks into a personal checking account, resulting in personal enrichment. Forgery charges stem from checks dated January 27, February 26, May 4 and 28, 2021, on which Ostroski admitted to fraudulently signing Tiffany Ossain’s name to the back of checks without her permission. Ossain, Ostroski’s daughter, is not an employee of SICOG and not affiliated with SICOG.
Ostroski was transported to Union County Jail where he was released on $30,000 cash of surety bond.
SICOG Board Treasurer Ron Riley declined to comment and referred to the organization’s attorney, Kirk Schuler with Dorsey & Whitney LLP of Des Moines. Kirk Schuler of Dorsey & Whitney LLP, who is serving as counsel for SICOG, said SICOG is aware of the charges and will continue to serve its community while it cooperates with the investigation.
An audit ending Sept. 30, 2020, is SICOG’s most recent audit on file with Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand. A representative of Sand’s office said SICOG has until June 30 to submit its audit for year ending Sept. 20, 2021.
Sands said the Auditor of State Office is assisting in safeguarding SICOG records and will be working with Iowa Economic Development Authority to assure appropriate testing procedures are performed. The IEDA has supported the Creston and communities across the state by providing a number of Community Development Block Grants and other resources for business and community development projects.