- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - The man tabbed to be the next director of Mitchell’s Corn Palace tourist attraction has withdrawn from consideration.

Mayor Ken Tracy told KORN radio and The Daily Republic that Steve Koch with Agile Manufacturing informed him Friday that he had changed his mind about taking the job.

“I told him that I would honor that request,” Tracy said. “I’m not sure what was all involved in his decision.”

A person who answered the phone at Agile Manufacturing said Koch was no longer with the company. A home listing for Koch was disconnected.

Tracy told The Daily Republic earlier this week that Koch had accepted the Corn Palace job, and the City Council was to make it official Monday.

Koch was to succeed Mark Schilling, who abruptly stepped down in March after 13 years as director. Tracy had asked Schilling to resign following a state audit that found several policies and procedures weren’t being followed. Schilling told The Associated Press after he quit that he didn’t think he had done anything wrong.

The audit found Schilling routinely counted money from the cash registers alone in his office, failed to keep and maintain proper financial records, and misused a city credit card. Updated equipment and the hiring of a city administrator should ensure greater supervision of the facility’s finances, according to Tracy.

“There are a lot of different factors in place now that weren’t there before,” he said. “I’m confident that we’re not going to go down that road again.”

Whoever becomes the new director will take the reins in the midst of a $7.2 million renovation project at the facility.

The Corn Palace bills itself as the world’s only palace dedicated to the grain. About 200,000 tourists visit each year.

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Information from: KORN-AM, https://www.1490korn.com

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