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Heritage Fest folks remain mum on misuse allegations

Rumors of financial mismanagement at the Nederland Heritage Festival office have been swirling again but law enforcement says there is no investigation nor has their been one.

“Nederland Police Department was never involved in any type of criminal investigation (over misuse of funds or theft),” Nederland Police Chief Darrell Bush said.

A year has passed since a change in leadership at the NHF office when longtime manager Wanda Hollier resigned due to personal issues, according to an archive story.

But at least two sources with knowledge of the misuse of funds confirmed there was a theft of funds and that the money, which was at five figures, was paid back in full.

Shannon Hemby, the current NHF manager, deferred all questions of misuse of funds to the organization’s attorney, Jim Wimberly.

The News attempted to contact Wimberly at his law office and via email several times but did not receive a response as of 5:30 p.m. Friday.

A call to Hollier early Friday afternoon was not returned by press time.

Nederland Heritage Festival is a 501 c3 organization that normally receives no more than one-third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business income and at the same time more than one-third of its support from contributions, fees, and gross receipts related to exempt purposes.

The 2017 festival, held in March, was a success, Hemby said.

“We had six beautiful days and that helped a lot,” she said. “The attendance was wonderful and most of the vendors said they had a wonderful year, some broke records.”