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NHF attorney: Internal investigation was done

An investigation into the possible misuse and/or misdirection of Nederland Heritage Festival funds was undertaken internally, according to the NHF’s attorney.

The investigation, attorney Jim Wimberley said, was completed by very qualified individuals.

When asked if there was an ‘official investigation,’ Wimberley said via email there was a full and thorough investigation, analyzing issues and potential issues in detail, related to reported issues as to possible misuse and/or misdirection of Nederland Heritage Festival funds.

Wimberley could not comment further due to legal obligations imposed on the NHF Foundation Board, which includes their counsel.

At least two sources with knowledge of the issue confirmed there was a theft of funds and that the amount was six figures, not five as was previously reported. There is no timeline of when the alleged misuse of funds occurred at this time.

Wimberly did say that the “determined funds were returned to the NHF accounts to the full satisfaction of the board and their counsel, which result satisfied the primary obligation of the board, as a governing board for a charitable institution — namely to recover lost funds.”

Rumors of financial mismanagement at the NHF office have been swirling again lately.

Nederland Police Chief Darrell Bush said in a previous story that the department was never involved in any type of criminal investigation over misuse of funds or theft.

There was a change in leadership at the NHF office last March when the longtime manager resigned due to personal issues, according to an archive story.

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.