A police investigation has been launched into alleged fund misappropriation within the Corner Brook Downtown Business Association (DBA).
A spokesperson for the not-for-profit association said the organization immediately suspended its operations in late October when it came to the board’s attention that there was a financial issue.
Robby Ash, a director on the DBA’s board, would not disclose how much money was involved, but described the amount as substantial enough to immediately warrant filing a formal complaint with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary.
“It was a big enough amount that there was no internal investigation,” said Ash. “As soon as it came to light, we locked everything down, contacted the RNC, opened up our books and complied with the investigation.”
Ash said it was out of an abundance of caution that anyone who might have had something to do with the money going missing was suspended. He would not say who those people were or how many of them were suspended.
“There may very well be people suspended who have nothing to do with this,” he said of the precautionary measures taken.
The DBA has an eight-member board of directors and one paid employee.
The DBA’s revenues mainly come from business tax levies administered by the City of Corner Brook for businesses located within what’s known as the city’s Business Improvement Area. These businesses roughly range from the West Street, Main Street and lower Humber Road areas to the Brook Street, lower Mount Bernard Avenue, Broadway and lower Caribou Road areas.
Coun. Linda Chaisson, the City of Corner Brook’s liaison on the board of directors, declined to make any comment on the situation, citing the ongoing RNC investigation.
Mayor Jim Parsons also declined to comment in any detail, given the active investigation, but did say in an email that the board has maintained communication with the city on the matter, and the city will work with the board throughout the process.
According to the City of Corner Brook, the DBA had a budget of $75,000 in 2018. Year-to-date, the organization has received a total of $61,083 from the city in levies.
***This article was updated at 4:20 p.m. (27-11-2018) to include the Downtwn Business Association's budget information.