Shakopee Derby Days canceled as police investigate festival finances

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This year's Shakopee Derby Days has been canceled as police are investigating the annual community festival's finances.

Festival organizers made the announcement on its website, saying a newly-appointed Board of Directors is "working to plan for a wonderful 2017 festival."

"We are taking time to implement new policies and procedures that include new internal controls to help manage our organization with the highest level of integrity," it said.

It comes as Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate confirmed to the Shakopee Valley News his department was looking into the financial management at Derby Days.

Previous Derby Days president Jack McGovern resigned last year over allegations of unaccounted spending, the newspaper notes, after it emerged he had used a debit card connected to the Derby Days bank account for spending totaling just under $775. He denied it had been for personal expenses.

The news that the four-day event, which attracts thousands of people to Huber Park, won't go ahead is disappointing for local nonprofits as well as festival-goers.

"Derby Days is important to our fundraising; we're disappointed to hear it's taking the year off," Shakopee Jaycees President Dara Wilhelmson told KSTP, saying the organization will lose out on $8,000 as a result.

KARE 11 reports people working with the City of Shakopee will "not have interaction" with officials at Derby Days – which is an independent, nonprofit organization – while the investigation is ongoing.

City Administrator Bill Reynolds added: "We believe community celebrations are important to a community’s identity. We hope to support a Shakopee-wide celebration again in the future."

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