Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper echoed similar sentiment when Deborah Starks pleaded guilty this month.
"Make no mistake about it, it was a good event," Carper said. "It was good for the community, but they did this to themselves."
In 2011, city and state entities made up about $35,000 of Multifest's $100,000 in sponsorship revenue, according to the most recent tax forms the Starks' filed with the secretary of state.
Corporate donors like Toyota, Suddenlink, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kroger made up another $35,000 of sponsorship funds that year, with Toyota alone contributing $22,000.
A Toyota spokesperson said company officials are still discussing whether to continue to support Multifest.
Highmark's West Virginia President Fred Earley said in a prepared statement that the company supports Multifest, but added they will "closely follow the lead of state and local government leaders in making sure that this important Charleston festival is reorganized..."
West Virginia University spent $7,000 on a booth rental, while West Virginia State University spent $5,000, according to the 2011 tax form.
"We would like to see it continue despite recent unfortunate issues," WVU Chief Diversity Officer David Fryson said. "We believe our state needs this diversity effort and, as it restructures, we hope to continue our support."
Nick Keller, the executive director of the Central West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau, which spends $10,000 to $15,000 on Multifest every year, said that his board would likely cut off the event as long as the Starks are still involved.
Stephen Starks would not answer questions about how his wife was able to sap $300,000 from the organization without him knowing.
"I can't respond to anything about that at this point," he said. "I will respond at a proper time."
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.