If former Government Employee Retirement System Administrator Willis Todmann needed a raise, he should have asked the board of trustees, which strongly supported him at the time, GERS trustee Carver Farrow said Tuesday during Todmann’s public corruption trial.
Instead, Todmann wrote a request for a second salary, but did not present it to the board and submitted it to GERS’ human resources department with Farrow’s name written on it without his knowledge, Farrow said.
"We trusted Mr. Todmann completely," Farrow told the jury. In fact, when they needed to replace former administrator Laurence Bryan, they interviewed several people, but ultimately chose Todmann for the spot "because of his knowledge as chief financial officer and past experience as acting administrator," Farrow said.
The first time he saw Todmann’s request for a second salary was when it was shown to him by Justice Department Special Agent Mae Wheatley as part of an investigation, Farrow said.
"I’d never seen the document before and when I saw my name there, I knew I didn’t sign it. I didn’t really read much more. I was upset," Farrow testified. "I felt as though the relationship we had enjoyed these years was not a relationship. A person I had trusted – being upset was putting it mildly."
On an overhead projector, Assistant Attorney General Denise George displayed three GERS documents signed by Farrow and the memorandum with his name on it approving a second salary for Todmann. The first three signatures were nearly indistinguishable from one another, while the disputed one requesting a second salary was visibly different with the letter "F" in "Farrow" markedly different.
Todmann’s attorney, Treston Moore, did not ask Farrow about that signature or suggest that Farrow actually signed it, but instead pointed to a Notice of Personnel Action Farrow signed authorizing a three-percent pay raise and setting Todmann’s salary as CFO.
Farrow agreed he signed the NOPA, but said it appeared to simply enact a small raise in his regular salary, which the board had approved along with similar pay raises for all management.
"There was nothing to indicate it meant a second salary," Farrow said. George displayed the NOPA on an overhead projector, and nowhere did it indicate it referred to a second salary rather than Todmann’s normal pay.
Todmann is also accused of improperly having GERS issue him a Diners Club card on a business account, then using it for personal purchases, even after he resigned from GERS in 2007. Jay Gunther, an analyst for Diners Club parent company, Citicorp, testified the account was authorized as a business account, that such cards are only for business purposes, and must be canceled as soon as the individual is no longer with the business or agency. Gunther verified the card was not canceled by Todmann, but when Todmann departed GERS, the billing address was changed to Todmann’s personal address.
Moore responded that Todmann always paid the bills and stopped using the card in 2008. No evidence was presented to suggest Todmann stole from GERS by having the system pay his personal bills, only that he procured and used the card improperly.
Trial continues Friday with more witness testimony and is likely to conclude Monday or Tuesday, according to the schedule outlined by V.I. Superior Court Judge James Carroll at the end of Thursday’s session.