Jury hears police interview Norman

Published 9:37 am Friday, May 13, 2011

The jurors in the case of former Albert Lea City Manager Jim Norman got the chance Thursday to hear a recording of the first interview Norman had with police.

The interview took place on Aug. 3, 2010, at City Hall.

Norman willingly was interviewed, by two detectives with the Waseca Police Department. They asked him questions about the alleged misuse of his city-issued credit card.

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Norman initially told police he thought all the charges could be classified as moving or relocation expenses because for the first month Norman was in Albert Lea, he and his wife were living in hotels and motels.

When questioned directly about two charges at Herberger’s and Shopko, involving a pair of women’s shoes and feminine hygiene products, respectively, Norman said he must have gotten confused between the city card and his own personal debit card — what he classified as clearly a mistake.

He was asked about a statement he had written to former Finance Director Rhonda Moen in which he stated he had been in a tough financial shape when he first moved to the city.

He admitted that there had been some financial problems at the time and that he had to put food, gas and hotel charges on the city card because he didn’t have other means to pay for it.

He stated, however, that he still thought the charges were eligible moving and relocation expenses.

“I really did honestly believe it fell under the general guidelines,” he said. “I guess I’m reading the language more loosely than anybody else.”

Norman faces eight charges on the matter: seven felonies and one gross misdemeanor.

He worked as city manager starting part time in mid-April 2010 and going through the fall of 2010.

The recording ended at the end of the day Thursday. It came in as evidence under Waseca detective Angie Grotberg’s testimony. Grotberg will be back on the stand Friday morning.