Coalition, United Way confer

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Board members of the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition met with the Moffat County United Way executive board and allocation committee Thursday to discuss what steps the coalition could take in an attempt to rescue the coalition from the recent embezzlement scandal.

The coalition's $15,000 allocation from the local United Way is still suspended, and any decision concerning those funds will be made at the United Way's board meeting May 2, Moffat County United Way Board President John Ponikvar said.

"We had a preliminary meeting with the coalition to find out where they're at, where they've been going since what happened," he said. "There is money for the coalition to move forward, but the managing their debt is the big thing. The next couple of weeks will be a telling time if they can deal with that debt."

The Craig Police Department arrested Robin M. McKenzie, 36, on charges of theft on April 3. McKenzie is suspected of embezzling more than $30,000 from the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition and Moffat County Partners.

The District Attorney's office has filed charges of felony theft and misdemeanor theft. The third-degree felony charge alleges McKenzie stole $15,000 or more from the coalition. The misdemeanor charge alleges she stole more than $100 but less than $500 from Partners.

The dental coalition presently faces a debt of $15,000 due to McKenzie's alleged actions. That debt includes $9,003 paid to Kids in Need of Dentistry that McKenzie allegedly attempted to pay with Partners' funds, $4,800 in federal taxes, $240 in state taxes and several outstanding bills to local companies.

According to Ponikvar, the dental coalition board members and executive director, Debi Garoutte, will meet with the United Way Allocation Committee once more before the May 2 meeting. The group will discuss its plans and progress on meeting the United Way's requirements on financial procedures and reorganization so the coalition can receive United Way funds.

"Some members of the coalition board and the executive director, Debi, feel they can make a go of it," Ponikvar said. "We were impressed with their enthusiasm."

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