|Joplin - Boomtown Days Festival of the Four States, Joplin's annual summer festival, has received a bit of notoriety after the Joplin Police Department received a report that money may have been taken from the event funds. In an official statement Ginger LaMar, Boomtown Days chairman said: "Boomtown Days Executive Committee was made aware of discrepancies in the financial records from the festival on December 21, 2010....." She then said that the committee "reported the discrepancy to the proper authorities."
The report was confirmed today (Jan. 4, 2011) by Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts who said that the case has been turned over to the FBI to avoid a conflict of interest, since Joplin Police Lieutenant Darren Gallup has been vice chairman of the event for five consecutive years.
Kirstie Smith, communications director for the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce in an e-mail issued an official statement. It reads: "Boomtown Days is a completely separate legal entity from the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and is not overseen or managed by the Chamber; therefore we cannot comment on its investigation. We can confirm that Kim Lester resigned from the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce last week."
Simultaneously on the staff of the chamber as vice president, Lester had been finance director of Boomtown Days in 2010 for her ninth year of service. Her duties included being in charge of organizing tax exempt/non-profit status for Boomtown Days and soliciting donations, vendor fees and admission packets from businesses and organizations.
LaMar, now in her tenth year of service, has announced that the next Boomtown Days event will be held June 9-11, 2011, in Landreth Park. A 10-year "bash" also is being planned, she said.
It may be two weeks before the FBI begins its probe.