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Denton Parks Foundation under investigation, halts all fundraising

Denton Parks Foundation under investigation, halts all fundraising

As of Oct. 4, Denton's park funding has been put on hold until further notice. Dana McCurdy

Denton Parks Foundation under investigation, halts all fundraising
October 19
12:54 2017

The City of Denton announced on Oct. 4 the halt of funding and fundraising to the Denton Parks Foundation in regards to an investigation into funding and spending.

According to a city press release acquired by the Denton Record-Chronicle, the city auditor’s office received confidential tips over the past several months regarding both the parks department and its relationship to the foundation.

A committee consisting of former City Auditor Craig Hametner, an assistant city attorney and a representative from the city’s Human Resources office conducted preliminary interviews with both employees and members of the public about those confidential tips, the DRC states.

On Monday, Hametner announced his resignation via email to city council members abruptly and without warning.

“The city is in contract with legal and financial workers while there isn’t an internal auditor,” City of Denton spokesperson Brian Daskam said.

Founded in 1987, the Denton Parks Foundation supports projects and programs of the Parks and Recreation Department in the city. The Foundation has no direct affiliation with the city and is governed by its own Board of Directors, according to the Foundation’s website.

From Oct. 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, the Denton Parks Foundation received $170,481 in revenue and an additional $100,000 in pledges. The foundation received a total of $53,979 in funding from the city, all verified through the city’s financial system.

On Aug. 1, the Parks Foundation announced its plans to launch a major giving campaign targeting to raise $250,000 over the next fiscal year to enhance the redevelopment of McKenna Park into a fully handicap accessible play area.

In the past, the foundation has raised $20,000 to save the Owsley and King Kids summer camps for children from low-income families when federal funds were cut.

Money was also being raised for the Pops Carter sculpture, which was vandalized on Sept. 13, and was on display at the Denton Parks Foundation booth at North Texas Giving Day on Sept. 14., where donations were taken to build a new sculpture. As of Sept. 25, $1,450 has been raised for it.

Denton police are still requesting anyone with information about the incident to call if they have any leads.

“The investigator followed up on a potential lead, but it did not pan out,” Denton police spokesperson Brian Cose said. “No cameras captured the incident and no further leads have been established.”

Featured Image: As of Oct. 4, Denton’s park funding has been put on hold until further notice. Dana McCurdy

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