Former Shakopee Derby Days President Jack McGovern has been charged with financial mismanagement of the nonprofit, accusing him of spending thousands of dollars on personal expenses.
McGovern was charged in Scott County District Court on Wednesday with one count of financial transaction card fraud, a felony, and one count of theft by swindle, a gross misdemeanor, for allegedly using $776 in organization funds to pay his cable bill and buy gas.
McGovern, 52, initially denied making the charges, but reimbursed Derby Days in August. He resigned after heading the annual summer festival for 18 years.
But city officials believe his misspending began before 2013, the last year for which he is liable.
Shakopee doesn’t sponsor the event, but it does provide labor at no cost. On Thursday, city leaders said they pushed for an independent audit following allegations of financial discrepancies.
“With a statute of limitations at three years, we may never know the full extent of this incident. It is clear, however, that this activity encompassed more than what could be charged,” the statement read. “We hope the current Derby Days board of directors uses this as an opportunity to regroup and establish safeguards for the future.”
The volunteer-run event depends on the city’s support, so planning had to be put on hold. The new board pulled the plug on the 2016 party usually held in Huber Park, but board members hope to bring it back in 2017.
According to the criminal complaint: Shakopee police began investigating Derby Days operations in February after board members reported suspicious activity on a company debit card, then held by McGovern. Bank records showed various purchases dating back several years that included charges to Comcast Communications, along with grocery and gas purchases in Jordan, where McGovern lives.
When a detective inquired about the personal charges, McGovern said he didn’t recall using the Derby Days card but admitted that it could have been a mistake, since he has another debit card in his wallet that looks similar. He later admitted there were a “few times” when he used the card, intentionally or accidentally, for his own purposes.
The organization’s treasurer told police she was aware McGovern had “inadvertently” used the card and had discussed a monthly payment program to reimburse the full $776. He paid them back with two checks in August 2015 — more than a year after some purchases were made.