CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Embarrassment over an embezzlement scandal, which threatens to cripple Multifest, is driving the event's board members to clean house, the festival's executive director said.
"It's very important for us to show our transparency and let our sponsors know we're going to do things the right way," Vicky Keene said Sunday.
Board members met Saturday night to discuss the importance of transparency and running the festival as a company, Keene said.
Last month, Deborah Starks, wife of former Multifest director Stephen Starks, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to tax fraud. Deborah Starks, who handled much of the financial activity for the festival, admitted that she embezzled more than $300,000 from Multifest between 2005 and 2010.
The festival board cut ties with the Starks, hired accountants Gray, Griffith & Mays to supervise finances and have scheduled weekly meetings to turn things around, according to Keene.
"There's no room to take a breath," she said. "After work [board members] are putting all of their time into Multifest - a lot of officials are on the phone until one-thirty, two in the morning.
"We're doing whatever it takes for Multifest to get back up and running."
The summer festival, held on the state Capitol grounds, relies mostly on corporate sponsorships. The city of Charleston and the Kanawha County Commission have also provided support.