Former Fruita chamber director accused of cooking the books

By: Rob Hughes Email
By: Rob Hughes Email

FRUITA, Colo (KKCO) It's a big problem in a small town. An audit a few months ago revealed some missing money, and pointed the finger at now former director Leanne Ingwersen. Chamber officials are vowing to never let this happen again. The chamber has seen it's share of trouble the last few years. "We had certainly heard that there were problems over at the chamber," said Tim Merris, general manager at the Fruita Times, a chamber member. News of the shakeup with former director Leanne Ingwersen began to trickle to chamber members quickly. "We got word that the current chamber director had been asked to resign, and she accepted and did resign," recounted Merris. Merris and other chamber members learned of an audit earlier this year that found irregularities in the chamber's books. "The emails were concise, they got to the point; didn't give out a lot of information, but gave enough information so people knew what was going on," said Merris. The emails were from John Burwell, chamber President. "John Burwell did keep the membership up to speed on what was going on, he in the meantime assigned interim director Shauna Davies to take over and pick up the pieces," explain Merris. A job Davies has now taken twice. Burwell says the board didn't initially target Ingwersen; it was a simple audit that raised the red flag.

"We had an audit that was scheduled, that you're required to do, and we had that schedule in place; and so it wasn't even a matter of anything being hidden from us, it was something that we had put in place," said Burwell. Burwell says the board has been transparent with members, and is looking after their interests. "It's not that big of a deal; it is because we have things in place," said Burwell. The chamber board has put this incident behind them, and is looking forward to the future. "We're excited about going into 2013; we've got a couple board positions open. It was important that we got this resolved so people can be confident that the Fruita chamber is strong and doing well," said Burwell.

We tried reaching Mrs. Ingwersen, but were unsuccessful. Officials would not comment on the amount of the missing funds. We're told Ingwersen has admitted guilt, and is responsible for paying that money back. She isn't facing any criminal charges.

Chamber officials also tell us measures have been put in place to avoid indiscretions by the chamber director in the future. The board is now working to reorganize the office structure of the chamber.

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