Debbie Mix of Tourism Commission Issues Statement

The Tourism Commission is dedicated to promote Starke County in the most positive manner and it is with great regret that there was a misappropriation of funds. Tourism has put new and formal procedures in place to prevent this from ever happening again.

In 2011, some checks were issued in which proper documentation was questioned by the Board of Tourism. Jennie Carter repeatedly told the board she had the supporting documentation and her explanation was believable.

Through a series of events more concern over the checks came into question. Confirming documentation from Indiana Department of Revenue was received in late December. At that time, fact finding meetings were scheduled with Jennie on three occasions, however she was unresponsive. A time line of events was established to verify misappropriation of funds.

On January 10, 2012 the full tourism board met and was informed of the chain of events implicating Jennie Carter in the misuse of funds. Later that same day the board drafted a letter of demand asking Jennie for the funds, confirming responsibility, and her immediate removal from the board. That letter was signed by Jennie and notarized that same day. Also on the 10th, a call was made to Martin Lucas the County’s Attorney to inform him and a January 13th meeting was scheduled.

On January 16th the Tourism Board met again and agreed the President would contact the Auditor’s office to schedule a meeting with the County Commissioners. On January 26th the Auditor’s office responded with a February 6th executive meeting with the County Commissioners.

It has never been the board’s intention to hide anything. It is unfortunate but it takes time to do a thorough investigation. No one was willing to make false accusations. Tourism took the appropriate steps to make sure the admission of guilt was made, a return of funds scheduled, and contacts made to take further action. The board is willing to release the time line and/or minutes to anyone who is interested.

The accusation that the Tourism Board knew ahead of time and took no action was unfounded and was a personal comment unsupported by facts. Tourism has worked methodically and with due diligence to be sure it acted responsibly.
Deborah J. Mix
Starke County Chamber of Commerce/Tourism Commission
Executive Director/Coordinator
P.O. Box 5
Knox, IN 46534
574-772-5548 (p)
574-772-0867 (f)