BADEN (KDKA) — Members of the Baden Borough Council accepted the resignation of the local tax collector whose husband is accused of stealing a large amount of public money.
There was bewilderment, anger and dismay at the council meeting, which ended as quickly as it began on Wednesday night.
Without comment, council accepted the resignation of Cynthia Kristek. But borough residents wanted some answers, and they didn’t get any.
“I asked them, ‘Did Baden lose any money?’ said Joe Kostil, a resident of the borough. “’Well, we can’t say that. It’s pending.’”
It turns out it’s not the tax collector who is the focus of this investigation. It’s her husband, Keith Kristek, who is the deputy tax collector, a former Baden cop and a constable.
He’s taking responsibility for the missing cash.
Baden’s mayor says he believes there was a lot of scheming going on.
“It was the old scheme where they would take certain money from the Baden account; transfer it to the school district. From the school district to Baden, it just a matter of time before he got caught,” said Mayor Sam Gagliardi.
In a small town like Baden, everyone knows everyone and trusts everyone. Long-time Baden Councilman Robert Besong is taking it personal.
“I used to go to his house at Christmas time and pretend I was Santa Claus because he had such a bunch of children, and I know them. It hurt me a lot,” said Besong. “We have too many senior citizens here in Baden that are getting ripped off.”
It could be a long time before we get to the bottom of exactly what happened. The Beaver County District Attorney is investigating, and there is a lengthy audit underway right now.