Michael Goins was officially ousted Thursday as the executive director of the Downtown Pasco Development Authority following his recent arrest for allegedly embezzling money from the nonprofit.
Board members unanimously voted to fire Goins, 36, who has been charged with first-degree theft and stands accused of stealing about $90,000 over a two-year period.
Goins will receive his salary for the last month even though he’s reportedly spent a majority of it in a psychiatric hospital and jail cell.
Half the money will go toward child support money Goins owes, said Michael Miller, the group’s president, at Thursday’s meeting.
The Pasco accounting firm Baker & Giles has been hired to determine exactly how much money Goins allegedly stole.
The state auditor’s office fraud department is involved in the investigation and it is working with Baker & Giles, said Mark Morrissette, an accountant at the firm. The Pasco Police Department is also investigating.
It could take months before details are revealed.
“There’s a lot to go through,” Morrissette told board members during the meeting.
Officials expect the search for a new executive director to start early next year.
The downtown association is responsible fore events such as the Fiery Foods Festival, the farmers market, Food Truck Fridays and the Pasco Specialty Kitchen.
Goins admitted to milking money from the the association, which is a public agency and partially funded by taxpayer dollars, to pay for personal bills and airplane tickets, according to court documents.
Goins would allegedly juggle money from one account to another so missing dollars wouldn’t be noticed. He was in charge of the agency’s finances and wrote checks.
An investigation revealed he apparently embezzled money from a previous employer in New Jersey and fled to Washington after his scheme was discovered. The case was never reported to police.
Court documents say Goins left his wife and two kids behind in New Jersey. A missing person report was filed after he vanished.
Miller alerted police in mid-November that Goins may be stealing money from the association, court documents said. The president was notified by the IRS that the agency owed $50,000 in unpaid taxes, and the Franklin PUD had called about an outstanding bill.
Miller learned Goins owed about $26,000 in back child support, which Goins told police was the reason he started stealing money, court documents said.
Goins, court documents said, tried to commit suicide once Miller discovered discrepancies in the agency’s financial records. He was hospitalized before his Dec. 1 arrest.
Goins is in the Franklin County jail on $100,000 bail.