- Associated Press - Saturday, August 9, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - There has not been an audit of Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce operations in more than a decade and federal and state payroll taxes have not been paid in several years, the president of the chamber’s board of directors said in an an email to members this week.

Board president Steve Turner on Saturday declined further comment Saturday when contacted by The Associated Press.

“I gave the information that should be released at this time, I have no additional comments at this time,” Turner said, noting that a criminal investigation into allegations of embezzlement at the chamber is underway by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

“When we are released to share more information we will do so,” Turner said.

Turner said in the email reported by the Tahlequah Daily Press (https://bit.ly/1pj2W8n ) Friday that there has been no audit of the chamber’s operations since 2003, that federal payroll taxes were last paid in 2007, with reports last filed in 2006 and that state payroll taxes were last paid four years ago.

A total amount of past-due taxes and possible penalties will be determined during the criminal probe, Turner said in the email. It was not clear from the newspaper article which day the email was sent.

The OSBI investigation, announced June 17, came five days after the chamber’s executive director, David Moore, resigned without explanation in an email to then-board president Stanley Young.

Turner declined comment Saturday on Moore’s resignation. Young said in an email to the AP at the time that the chamber board was made up of volunteers who trusted the chamber’s professional staff.

“That trust has apparently been violated and we will, of course, fully cooperate with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and other appropriate authorities to address the issues that are before us,” Young wrote.

A telephone number listed for Moore has been disconnected.

The Tahlequah chamber’s tourism director, Kate Kelly, was fired in June following a report in the Tallequah Daily Press that about $47,000 of the estimated $95,000 in hotel-motel taxes collected by the city and sent to the chamber was used to pay Kelly’s salary, payroll taxes, health insurance, cellphone bill and civic club dues.

Kelly said at the time that she was fired after reporting potential financial problems at the chamber.


Information from: Tahlequah Daily Press, https://www.tahlequahdaailypress.com

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