Police: Rahm stole $250K
MARSHALL — The former director of the Marshall Convention and Visitors Bureau was arrested Friday in connection with the theft of more than $250,000 from the CVB, Marshall Police said.
Police said Darin Ross Rahm, 49, of Marshall, was arrested for probable cause felony theft.
Rahm is a former member of the Fairmont City Council, having served from 2011-2014. He resigned from the council in October 2014 to take the CVB job in Marshall.
When he stepped down from his council position in Fairmont, Rahm said, “As tough as it is for me to leave Fairmont, there’s great opportunities for me in Marshall.”
The arrest came as the result of a months-long investigation by the Marshall Police Department, with the help of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Minnesota State Auditor’s Office. Police said Rahm was booked into the Lyon County Jail on Friday, and is expected to appear in court after charges have been filed.
Rahm was director of the Marshall CVB from October 2014 until June 2018, when his employment was terminated.
A statement posted on the Marshall CVB’s Facebook page Friday said the group found financial irregularities during an internal budget review in 2018. The CVB and Marshall Area Chamber reported the irregularities to authorities and removed Rahm from the CVB, the statement said.
The CVB said some information on the theft could not be made public Friday, due to pending criminal prosecution. However, Marshall police said their investigation was into the theft of funds exceeding $250,000.
Last June, Cal Brink, then the executive director of the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce, said Rahm had been terminated for cause, but he could not give more information at that time.
In a statement Friday, the city of Marshall said the CVB has also sought support from a public tax accounting firm to further establish accounting procedures and protocols in all CVB financial transactions.
“This individual intentionally deceived the CVB by using sophisticated means to divert funds into his own personal accounts,” Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes said in the city’s statement. “The specific taxpayers are entitled to expect that the city will use all available legal remedies to ensure restoration of these funds.”
Byrnes referred to local lodging taxes collected in Marshall. Under state law, cities can impose a tax on short-term lodging, but 95 percent of the revenue raised has to be used for tourism and convention center promotion. Marshall has procedures in place that account for all funds before distribution to the CVB, the city’s statement said.
When the city became aware of possible misuse of funds, it notified the State Auditor and consulted with legal counsel to ensure full compliance with the law, the statement said.
Current CVB director Lauren Deutz said the organization has filed an insurance claim for the theft.
The CVB said the organization is staying committed to serving and promoting the city of Marshall.
“We were gravely deceived by this individual and are deeply saddened by this discovery,” the statement said.