DA: Fair funds investigation ongoing

CNJ Staff

District Attorney Matt Chandler said Thursday that no one has been charged with stealing Curry County Fair funds discovered missing last year. He said the criminal investigation will likely “continue for some time.”

A State Auditor’s report revealed about $19,000 is missing from fair revenues. Chandler said the audit report indicated the funds were handled in a reckless manner.

“However the findings do not pinpoint where the missing money went,” Chandler said.

Curry County Treasurer Rhonda Bookout was indicted in February on a charge of tampering with government documents in connection with entries regarding fair revenues. She has taken a leave of absence since.

Bookout has said she followed proper procedure while handling the fair funds.

She is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing today in the 9th Judicial District Court, according to court records. A jury trial is scheduled for June 9.

If convicted of the records-tampering charge, Bookout could face up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine, Chandler said.

County Manager Lance Pyle said there are statutes in place for the County Commission to remove Bookout from her position and appoint a new county treasurer, if she’s convicted.

Bookout’s four-year term ends in December. She did not file for re-election.