Finances at Grand Old Day subject of police, federal investigation

The annual event was initially canceled this year due to funding issues, before being saved.
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The finances of the nonprofit organization behind St. Paul's Grand Old Day are now the subject of a federal investigation.

The probe into the Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA) was first reported by KSTP, stating that the findings of an initial investigation by St. Paul police has since been turned over to feds, and now involves the U.S. Attorney's Office of Minnesota, the Secret Service and the IRS.

St. Paul police has confirmed the probe was launched in May after a report of alleged financial mismanagement, with the offense alleged to have taken place between October 2014 and December 2016.

It was launched just weeks after the GABA announced that Grand Old Day 2019 was canceled, citing funding problems that meant it couldn't afford to operate the popular event.

The organization reversed that decision a week later after an outpouring of support from the general public, prompting fundraisers and sponsorship offers that ensured the event could happen the first weekend of June.

KSTP reported that dwindling finances resulting in the GABA struggling to host the event in recent years are the primary focus of the investigation.

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Bob Lawrence, who is now the president of the GABA after joining the board in January, told the Star Tribune that none of the nonprofit's current board members are subject of the investigation.

He added that St. Paul police found "irregularities" in GABA books after an audit of the nonprofit.

This year's Grand Old Day was attended by more than 200,000 people.

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