FARMINGTON — The Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau has recovered $1,300 after mailing letters to people who may have unknowingly benefited from a half-million dollar embezzlement scandal.
The letters asked that the individuals donate money to the bureau. The bureau's attorney, Dick Gerding, mailed the letters in early August, according to documents obtained by the Daily Times.
The Daily Times has been requesting documents from the city and the bureau under the state's open records law that might shed light on the embezzlement of bureau's former director, Debbie Dusenbery, between 2006 and 2012.
Requests seeking information from the bureau identifying individuals who benefited from the embezzlement have been denied. Documents provided by the city have had key information redacted. Another request is pending.
In total, the bureau has recovered $72,339, Gerding said, adding that service fees were accounted for in the amount. The bureau got $24,564 from the sale of Dusenbery's house, $30,000 from her Jeep and $12,500 from her recreational vehicle, according to a report Gerding emailed to Andy Mason, the city's director of Administration Services.
Another $3,975 was left in Dusenbery's bank account and the $1,300 contribution was from a single individual who Gerding declined to identify.
"That's a pretty small percentage they've recovered," Mason said. "The question of whether it's successful or not is if you think (the amount recovered of the total amount embezzled) is successful or not. Probably not."
Gerding said the bureau will not likely receive any more of the embezzled money. He said bureau officials have no further plans for recovering the money.
"The only thing I can tell you," he said, "is we got everything there was to get."
But he said he doesn't know whether those who received his letters are contemplating further donations.
All received money is deposited in a trust fund set up in Gerding's law firm's name, he said. Then the money is deposited into the bureau's coffers, he said.
Bureau Executive Director Tonya Stinson would not answer questions about the embezzlement, and she deferred questions to Gerding.
Those who are known to have benefited from the embezzlement include the following, according to the police report of Robert Perez, a police detective who investigated the case: Police Sgt. Rick Simmons and his wife; Russell Smith, Dusenbery's former boyfriend; Ronald Fellabaum, another boyfriend; Simmon's father-in-law; and former bureau executive director, Becky Walling.