Breckenridge woman charged with embezzling $200K from film festival
December 30, 2013
Months of investigation by the Breckenridge Police Department resulted in the arrest of Dawna Foxx, 67, of Breckenridge on Thursday, Nov. 21, on multiple charges of forgery and theft.
Foxx, who was taken into custody on a $50,000 warrant, allegedly stole thousands of dollars from her ex-husband, his business partner and the Breckenridge Festival of Film, a nonprofit organization in Summit County.
"Ms. Foxx forged documents and spent others' money for personal gain, moving money between accounts to cover up and hide suspicious spending from multiple victims," stated detective Alex Blank in a news release.
Blank led the investigation of Foxx's financial activity from 2007 to 2012, during which time Foxx was employed by the film festival.
According to the release, an arrest affidavit filed in the case identifies three victims of theft and forgery — Foxx's husband, Ron Foxx, in the amount of $20,000; Ron Foxx's business partner, in the amount of $16,000; and the Breckenridge Festival of Film, in excess of $210,000.
According to the affidavit, Foxx had been using film festival accounts from 2007 to 2012 for her personal use, in a manner not authorized by the board of directors. The affidavit stated that Foxx used fraudulent checks and credit cards for purchases of personal items, including clothing, rental cars, airline tickets, gambling and gardening supplies. The total amount of unauthorized funds allegedly embezzled from film festival accounts currently totals $211,008.08.
Foxx was the film festival's executive director from late 2004 to 2012. At the end of 2012, all of the festival's previous board members resigned.
The 2013 film festival saw an entirely new board of directors — Gary Martinez, Cynthia Gordon, Lisa Korry Cheek, Ambur Stevens, Sharon Schoeffield, Zak Himmelman and Jennifer McIntosh — as well as a new executive director, Janice Kurbjun.
"It's a really sad situation that these kinds of things happen. Unfortunately they do," said Gary Martinez, Summit County manager. Martinez took on the role of board president for the 2013 festival.
"This is too bad. It's a crime and we're all victims. The old board is a victim, the new board is a victim. The boards have been victims of this as well as the community at large. When a long-running special event like the film festival is affected like this, everybody suffers."
In addition to an all-new board and executive director, the organization has made changes to its financial accountability measures.
"We have made it a high priority to put in new internal financial controls," Martinez said.
A financial committee within the board of directors routinely looks through the budget and bank statements, and holds regular meetings with the board.
"The festival started from a nearly zeroed-out budget in January 2013," current executive director Kurbjun said in a news release, "but with the support of a strong Breckenridge and Summit County community that believes in our mission, particularly the town of Breckenridge and The Summit Foundation and a number of lodging, restaurant and local business supporters, we were able to execute a successful 2013 festival that doubled our ticket revenue targets and far exceeded attendance expectations. There is still a long way to go to recover financially, but the festival is on track to become a cornerstone Breckenridge event once again."
Martinez reiterated the festival's recent success, and its plans to continue holding activities and pushing to expand the festival.
"We had a successful festival this fall, financially as well as from a programmatic point of view," he said. "We look forward to having the regular festival again in September."
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