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Ex-city accountant pleads guilty

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By David Giuliani

This last season, the coaches of the Highlands University football team frowned upon players going to bars — and they actually swept such establishments to make sure they stayed away.

“We definitely went to bars and kept them out. We didn’t want issues with fighting. We made a conscious effort to clean these bars out,” Athletic Director Ed Manzanares said. “It’s not unusual to sweep bars. Each program has its own rules.”

Manzanares said his coaching staff did the same when he headed the basketball team a few years ago.

He said the enhanced discipline appeared to have worked with the football team. In fact, players’ grade point averages were up and housing officials said that they were better behaved, he said.

“The coaches were on them all the time,” Manzanares said.

He said that the coaches were more likely to check bars after a big win, as was the case when Highlands beat Fort Lewis College in Durango a few weeks ago.

On that Saturday night, a reporter saw two coaches get out of a Highlands car, apparently just getting to town after the trip from Durango. Instead of going in, they waited outside in line for a half hour because the bar was at capacity.

When someone left the bar, one of the coaches would tell the security guard outside to let the next person in line in, so they could get into the bar quicker.

Asked why the coaches didn’t get permission to go in to conduct their check, rather than wait a half hour, Manzanares didn’t have an answer.A former city of Las Vegas accountant has been sentenced for embezzling funds, officials said.

Margaret Cordova, 39, an ex-supervisor in the utilities department, had been charged with embezzlement and tampering with evidence.

Cordova will be placed on felony probation for 18 months and is required to pay back the money she took, District Attorney Richard Flores said. She pleaded guilty to embezzlement, and the tampering charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement, Flores said.

On July 18, Cordova stole $1,104 from a money bag that another employee took to City Hall, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint states that Cordova admitted to the embezzlement when confronted, city police said.

The investigation started in September, nearly two months after the embezzling occurred. City officials said they requested a police investigation four days after they discovered a problem.

Cordova left city employment after the missing money was reported.