Sioux Fair Board Scrutinizes Gifts

The Sioux Empire Fair board in Sioux Falls, S.D., has cut ties with the president of the Fair Association following reports that the man may have accepted gifts from another staffer who’s charged with aggravated grand theft.

Fair Association President Matt Adamski recently resigned from his position after acknowledging he’d received thousands of dollars in gifts from the former office manager for the fair, Kathleen Gourley, who’s currently under state investigation.

According to an affidavit in the case obtained by the local Argus Leader, Gourley “admitted to taking funds from the Sioux Empire Fair Association to help other people in need,” reportedly to the tune of at least $250,000.

Helping people in need also apparently included doling out lavish presents to Adamski, as fair board chairman Ron Wieman itemized the gifts in an e-mail to other board members, the Leader reported.

“Matt just informed me of the following ‘gifts’ from Kathy: Stays @ timeshare Vegas Orlando plus plane tickets for family,” Wieman wrote, listing other gifts including an $8,000 motorcycle, $1,000 shotgun and a $1,400 treadmill.

The fair board faced financial struggles in recent years, according to the paper, which led to the audit that pointed out the missing money.

“If we had that money back, we’d be solvent,” Wieman told the Leader. “This is high betrayal. It’s a big shock to us all.”

If convicted, Gourley could face up to 15 years in prison. Adamski has not been charged with any crimes.