CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA. (WDHN) — Visit Dothan President and CEO Aaron McCreight is facing up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal bank fraud charges in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
McCreight may also be facing a $1 million fine and up to five years of supervised release following any prison term.
After hearing today’s news, Visit Dothan said that its board of directors stands by the statement it issued earlier this month.
In that statement the Board of Directors said the following:
“Visit Dothan recently met and voted unanimously to retain Aaron McCreight as its President and CEO.”
They also stated:
“As the judicial system continues to run its course in Iowa, the board will stay abreast of the situation and timely consider any new developments that may arise.”
The city of Dothan gives Visit Dothan 4% of the lodging tax they receive from the state, and two city commissioners sit on Visit Dothan’s Board of Directors.
“As that moves forward they’ll deal with it in the wisest kind of way,” Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba said. “Whatever happens with that I trust our commissioners on that board. I trust that board.”
Before he became CEO of Visit Dothan, McCreight was CEO of Go Cedar Rapids.
He brought in Kelly Clarkson and other artists for an event called Newbo Evolve.
He now admits he intentionally mislead the bank, overstating how many people would attend the event, and overstating how much money it would bring in.
The then-finance director Go Cedar Rapids said McCreight ordered him to misrepresent estimates to the bank.
By the time it was over, the bank was out $1.5 million, and vendors weren’t paid $800,000.
Go Cedar Rapids fired McCreight in 2018, then he was hired as CEO of Visit Dothan.
Saliba said Visit Dothan is an important organization in the community, and they will continue to stand with the Visit Dothan Board of Directors.
“We’re not going to be pulling any funding from Visit Dothan,” Mayor Saliba said. “They have done a tremendous job over the last year and a half. We are extremely pleased with what our investment has been with them.”