The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and its former chief financial officer have reached an agreement to repay the zoo after he and other executives were being uncovered to have misused zoo sources, ensuing in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses for the taxpayer-supported nonprofit.
Former zoo CFO Greg Bell has agreed to repay the zoo $132,000, board Chairman Keith Shumate said. The board accepted the settlement with Bell at a special conference Wednesday, Shumate mentioned.
Bell and previous zoo CEO Tom Stalf resigned in March of past yr soon after Dispatch reporting uncovered the two guys allowed their kin to stay in zoo-owned qualities at underneath-current market rents, and sought tickets and suites to concert events and entertainment occasions — methods meant for hosting zoo supporters and building donor relations — for by themselves and their relatives associates.
Misspending and questionable company methods by Stalf and Bell, as properly as two other employees, expense the zoo at the very least $631,000, a forensic audit later discovered. Zoo property had been utilised improperly for executives’ personal things, together with concert tickets, golf memberships, Amazon buys, satellite radio subscriptions and automobiles, the audit uncovered.
Tracy Murnane, former director of getting, also reached a settlement with the zoo, and has agreed to shell out again $11,000, Shumate reported.
Forensic auditors found Bell was liable for approximately $139,000 of the $631,000 in losses, though Murnane was dependable for nearly $13,000.
Whilst the settlement quantities for the two adult men fell limited of the total estimated losses auditors assigned to their steps, Shumate mentioned the quantities were being a compromise.
“I think the figures were being fair,” Shumate reported.
No settlement achieved with previous Columbus Zoo CEO Tom Stalf
Stalf was accountable for the big vast majority — $423,000 — of losses, according to the forensic audit. And Pete Fingerhut, the zoo’s previous vice president of advertising and marketing and profits, was responsible for just about $57,000 in losses, auditors observed.
The zoo has not reached settlements with Stalf or Fingerhut, Shumate explained, and the zoo board has agreed to acquire any actions essential to collect what is owed.
Board officials are nonetheless hopeful they can access an agreement with Stalf and Fingerhut . But, “everything’s on the desk,” Shumate mentioned, which include legal action.
Bell’s lawyer, Sam Shamansky, reported Wednesday evening that there ended up some disputed parts of the audit, which is how the get-togethers arrived at the settlement figure, “which we consider represents an accurate approximation of the restitution owed,” he stated.
Inside months of his resignation, Shamansky stated Bell was fully commited to reimbursing the zoo. The money experienced already been compensated back again to the zoo by Wednesday night time, Shamansky said.
“Mr. Bell, from Day One, has acknowledged the lapses in judgment and has recognized accountability for the exact same, and thinks that the very best way to demonstrate an understanding is to repay the cash to which he was not entitled,” Shamansky claimed.
Brad Barbin, representing Murnane, claimed he and the former zoo acquiring director do not agree with the assertions of the forensic audit, but needed to transfer on from what Barbin described as a “bad situation.”
“Companies are intended to have techniques in place to identify when bosses are out of control,” Barbin said. “The zoo didn’t have that procedure in position. The payment of $11,000 is (Murnane’s) endeavor to make amends for this situation.”