Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, July 2 @ 11:13 a.m. / Community

Crescent City Police Chief Says Embezzlement Accusations Against Chamber Director Are Unfounded; Allegations Were Levied At A City Council Meeting


Cindy Vosburg said she took the accusation that she had embezzled $20,000 in Chamber of Commerce dollars personally. But she said she’s so busy organizing Independence Day activities that she didn’t even want to pause Monday to hear the police chief clear her name.

“I’m glad,” Vosburg, executive director of the Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce, told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Tuesday. “Since I was accused in an open City Council meeting, I was cleared in an open City Council meeting.”

The accusation that Vosburg had misappropriated chamber funds came from Donna Westfall, whose blog, the Crescent City Times, claims to report the news “as accurately, honestly and as fairly as possible.” Speaking before the City Council just before it adopted the city’s 2024-25 budget, Westfall said she heard the allegation from an anonymous source and that the alleged misappropriated dollars would be used to pay for personal health problems.

“We, the staff of the Crescent City Times, do not want to pursue this,” Westfall told the City Council. “We suggest the city or the police chief do something — some investigation.”

On Monday, Mayor Blake Inscore, who is the treasurer for the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, asked Police Chief Richard Griffin to speak to the brief investigation he had conducted in response to Westfall’s statement.

Griffin said he interviewed Inscore and another member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as well as Vosburg herself. The accountant also reviewed the chamber’s finances from the last five years searching for anything suspicious, Griffin said.

“Throughout my investigation at no point was there reasonable suspicion that a crime actually occurred,” the police chief told councilors.

Griffin said the investigation is closed and the allegation against Vosburg is unfounded.

Donna Westfall at the Crescent City Council's June 17 meeting. | Screenshot

Vosburg said when she heard Westfall’s allegation against her, she reached out to Inscore and to Griffin and gave them a statement about how the Chamber of Commerce’s books are handled.

“There’s no way any one person could take funds out of the chamber,” she said. “The system is the same as what the Crescent City offices run on. I don’t even have access to the checking account, it’s done through my assistant who has QuickBooks.”

According to Vosburg, the accusation was that she had misappropriated $20,000 to offset the cost of surgery on her knee. She said it was ridiculous because that surgery is paid for through her health insurance.

Vosburg also noted that $20,000 is about 10 percent of the Chamber of Commerce’s overall budget of about $230,000 a year.

“We operate on a shoestring,” she said. “It’s a very small budget.”

Following Griffin’s statement, county resident Linda Sutter, an investigative reporter for the Crescent City Times, said she also began asking questions following Westfall’s statement and found out that it was incorrect.

“I told Ms. Westfall that she needed to come here and fix that, but she’s not here, so I’m going to do it for her,” Sutter said. “I talked to Ms. — the person in question — and I told her I will find out who created that rumor because that was probably unnecessary. I apologize for Ms. Westfall, for making a statement she had no business making.”

Inscore said that while the public has the right to speak, a City Council meeting isn’t the place to make unfounded accusations.

“I appreciate the chief doing his job. I appreciate Chamber Director Cindy Vosburg enduring this because I know it wasn’t pleasant,” Inscore said. “In the end, the reality is the facts are the facts and there was nothing done that was inappropriate.”


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