The City of Lawrenceburg has been the primary funding source for the Dearborn Adult Center since its creation, providing money for operations, as well as, providing and maintaining their property and building. Last year a whistleblower informed City officials of the apparent misuse of funds by Executive Director Marie Edwards and Assistant Executive Director Aaron Cook for their personal expenses. The City filed a lawsuit in the Dearborn County Superior Court against the DAC, Marie Edwards, and Aaron Cook on April 21, 2020.
Before the City filed the lawsuit, it attempted to work with the DAC to review the DAC’s financial records and to potentially resolve the dispute. It continued to try to do so even after the lawsuit was filed. Defendants continued to refuse to cooperate with the City to provide transparency and allow a full review and audit of the DAC’s financial records. Defendants moved to dismiss the lawsuit arguing the City has no right to review how funds the City provided to the DAC were spent and refused to produce records. That motion was rejected and denied.
As a result of Defendants’ concerted effort to delay the legal proceedings, their acknowledgement of no ongoing funding obligations, and their efforts to prevent the discovery of facts related to their alleged misuse of City funds, the City concluded that it could no longer fund the DAC in good conscience. The City had no choice but to initiate steps to cease its annual funding of the DAC.
Late in 2020, a group of community leaders, led by Ken Maddin, got together and reached out to the City to state that they were working on a plan to keep the Dearborn Adult Center open. Eventually, those leaders informed the City that Marie Edwards and Aaron Cook were resigning their positions and would have no future involvement with the DAC in any way. They also informed the City that a new board of directors would be created, the board would add additional safeguards, and that the board would include the Mayor and two members of Lawrenceburg City Council.
Based on these developments, the City decided to continue providing funding to the DAC and is moving forward with the new board and a new Executive Director. The City expects there will be sound budgeting moving forward, transparent spending and every dollar accounted for while spent for the good of the seniors and our community.
Because there is a new board and new Director, and because Marie Edwards and Aaron Cook are no longer involved with the DAC in any way, the City decided that the lawsuit was no longer necessary and dismissed it. The City is turning over all evidence of alleged wrongdoing to the local Prosecutor, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, and the Indiana State Board of Accounts. Those entities will determine if wrongdoing did occur and if any further action should be taken. The City of Lawrenceburg is very pleased that the Dearborn Adult Center will remain in operation with a new board and a new Director. The primary objective of the City was, and always will be, to ensure that the Dearborn Adult Center provides the
maximum level of good for our wonderful senior community.
The City of Lawrenceburg is encouraged by the developments at the Dearborn Adult Center moving into 2021. Together, we remain focused on ensuring the programs, activities and services provided have a positive impact on improving quality of life for seniors in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and Dearborn County.