Youth still not paid for Marion Fair, embezzlement investigation underway

MARION — While the Marion Fair was months ago, participants who showed livestock have yet to receive their checks from the livestock auction.

The Marion Fair is not a 4-H-run fair or auction and has its own board, which is overseen by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), according to 4-H District Coordinator Shari Spoelman.

“We are holding our breath and just waiting for the youth to be paid,” Spoelman said.

Spoelman said an investigation has been turned over to law enforcement in Osceola County. That investigation involves possible embezzlement by a member or members of the Marion Fair Board.

Osceola County Undersheriff Justin Halladay confirmed the sheriff’s department is looking into the matter.

However, Halladay could offer no additional details regarding the status of the investigation since it is ongoing.

Osceola County 4-H Coordinator Jake Stieg said the investigation does not involve his office and had no comment. Since the investigation, the Marion Fair Board has been restructured, Stieg confirmed.

While the Marion Fair Board is required by law to submit financial statements to MDARD, the department is not involved in an investigation at this point, but was made aware of the situation.