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Former chamber manager arrested


May 30, 2018

Sweet Home police arrested the former executive director of the Sweet Home Chamber of Commerce Friday morning, May 25.

Katrina Crabtree, who separated from the chamber in March 2017, was charged with first-degree theft and four counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, all class C felonies.

"The investigation was initiated due to reported monies missing" following her dismissal from the chamber, said Det. Cyndi Pichardo.

Financial records also were missing from the chamber, she said.

Crabtree was booked, cited and released from Sweet Home Police Department because Linn County Jail was overcrowded, said Pichardo.

Court records listing specifics about charges against Crabtree were not available on Friday, prior to Memorial Day.

The chamber eliminated Crabtree's position in March of last year for financial reasons, Chamber President Bill Matthews said at the time.

Crabtree had been director for approximately 2½ years and involved with the chamber for about three years.

After Crabtree had left the chamber, board members attempted to evaluate the organization's status, but discovered "we essentially have no financial records," Matthews said in a letter to chamber members in April 2017.

"We were using a Quickbooks system, but that is gone and with it all information with regard to accounts payable and receivable, profit and loss, balance sheets, invoicing and government reporting. We conducted an in-depth search of our office computer, but very little could be retrieved. No backup systems were found to exist," he said.

"There are records that are left that we have possession of, but they're either inaccurate or incomplete. We've done everything we can possibly think of to retrieve the information that is missing, electronic and printed."

The chamber had no record of communications with governmental agencies, Matthews said. "We are in the process of trying to recover these, but there seems to be a significant gap between what should have been communicated and what has been received by those agencies."

Most other information in different programs also was unavailable, Matthews said. That included word-processing communication, spreadsheets, membership information and similar information. The chamber was able to recover some of its email capability but not all of it and board members found they could not access its web page and Facebook accounts through a third party.

Matthews also reported that the organization was in trouble with the state and the federal government over unpaid taxes and failure to file required forms.

In May of last year, the chamber board voted to sell its two Main Street properties, including its buildings to pay off some $100,000 in debt. The property was purchased later in the year and the new owners agreed to allow the chamber to stay on the premises.

In the interim, the chamber has paid off its debts and completed required paperwork for the state and IRS, according to Matthews.

Crabtree is scheduled for arraignment at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, in Linn County Circuit Court.


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