North Fork Area Transit seeking new GM
NORFOLK, Neb. -- A northeast Nebraska transit organization, which has dealt with the fallout of alleged theft by its former manager, is now seeking a replacement to helm the agency.
North Fork Area Transit announced Wednesday that it is hiring for a new general manager. The transit agency's previous general manager, Jeffrey Stewart, was accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars in NFAT funds through company credit cards.
Court documents allege that Stewart used a company credit card for purchases at casinos, flights, meals at area restaurants, home goods, podcast services, and more. After seizing phone records and flash drives, investigators accused Stewart of using $750,000 to $1,000,000 worth of organization funds for personal purchases.
Stewart, a Texas native, was officially announced as the North Fork Area Transit GM in February of 2022. The NFAT board announced his suspension in December. Authorities continue to search for Stewart, who remains at large. The Madison County Sheriff's Office said at one point in its investigation that it believed Stewart had left the country. Should Stewart be returned to Madison County, he would face a Class 2A felony.
Amid a shortage of funds, NFAT ceased operations in January. In March, NFAT announced that it had received enough money from a fundraising campaign to re-start operations. The million-dollar funding came from a combination of community pledges and a matching gift from the Johnny Carson Foundation. The City of Norfolk also pledged $150,000 to aid the return of NFAT.
The transit authority came back into operation at the beginning of April.
The NFAT board has said it has evaluated the circumstances around Stewart's alleged crimes and has imposed new processes as a result.
"The board of directors immediately hired a local accounting firm to handle all finances for the agency," board member Lacy Kimes told News Channel Nebraska in February as the organization was in the middle of its fundraising campaign. "The board of directors has brought on additional board members."
Kimes said at the time that there was no specific timeline on finding and hiring a new general manager.