Four CVB members are out after Christmas party controversy - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Four CVB members are out after Christmas party controversy

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By Becky Graham - bio | email | Twitter
Kelsey Wheatcroft - email

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -  The third and fourth members of the Evansville Convention and Visitor's Bureau Board have resigned.

The mayor's office says Secretary Stacey McNeill and Treasurer Claudette Branson have turned in resignations. Two other members were out after a Vanderburgh County Council meeting.

The ECVB Board is made up of appointees from the county commissioners (2), county council (2) and the mayor (3).

Mayor - Secretary Stacey McNeill, Treasurer Claudette Branson & Mike Roeder

Commissioners - President Joe Vezzoso & Greg Gee

Council - VP Kristen Tucker & David Dunn

David Dunn handed in his resignation to the council Wednesday morning. Dunn tells 14 News he's appalled no one contacted him prior to his name being smeared publicly.

At the first council meeting of the new year, Joe Kiefer was unanimously voted President and Tom Shetler Junior voted Vice President.

Then David Dunn of Dunn Hospitality stepped up to the microphone to answer for the $3,000 party he and fellow ECVB board members enjoyed at taxpayers' expense, and gave his resignation.

Dunn has served for 25 years as one of the council's appointees on the CVB board.

He says, "I am appalled that individuals reacted in the fashion they did before our board had the opportunity to take any action regarding this matter. I've likened the process to a modern day witch hunt."

Dunn's resignation was accepted, but he still had to face questions about the Christmas party at Biaggi's.

Russ Lloyd Jr asks, "What account had that dinner have been charged to?"

Ed Bassemier says, "When you make a motion to have a Christmas party do you have an open check book?"

Dunn told council members he doesn't have to answer those questions. He says he and his colleagues were guests, and that the party was thrown by the Convention and Visitors Bureau Director.

One council member says after the question and answer session was over, taxpayer dollars were not protected, and in order to restore the confidence of the council and taxpayers, the council cleaned house.

The council voted unanimously to remove ECVB Vice President Kristen Tucker, their other ECVB appointee.

County council president Joe Kiefer says, "We want every dollar spent to be for a reason, to have a betterment, and have a cause and reason for the expense so that it is beneficial to our community."

14 News has obtained receipts from past CVB Christmas parties.

Click here to see all of holiday party receipts {PDF}

In 2006 and 2007 the bill came to about $1,800 at Biaggi's, and in 2008 about $1,400 at Biaggi's. Last year they spent more than $2,000 with Just Rennie's.

Related Stories:

Mayor suggests CVB board members foot Biaggi's bill
CVB board members charged over $3,000 for Christmas party 

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