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Grass Lake Farmers Market Aims to Put Embezzlement Scandal Behind It

Former Treasurer Chandra Crandall convicted after pleading guilty, new financial controls in place
Posted at 11:25 PM, May 16, 2024
  • Video shows Grass Lake Farmers Market, case-related documents.
  • Unauthorized expenditures by former Treasurer of Grass Lake Farmers Market discovered in organization's ledger.
  • Former Treasurer Chandra Crandall pled guilty and was convicted of embezzlement.
  • Grass Lake Farmers Market President Joseph Deboe says measures have been implemented to protect against future financial improprieties.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Grass Lake Farmers Market ... a beloved weekly gathering in the warmer months here in this tight-knit community. But inside the organization, a betrayal of trust turned into a criminal conviction.

Here's what we now know.

As farmers markets start back up around our neighborhoods, Grass Lake Farmers Market takes steps to put a tumultuous period behind it.

According to a police report obtained from the Jackson County Sheriff, in 2022 Farmers Market Manager Sabrina Edgar discovered significant discrepancies in the organization's ledger — most notably, an $8000 check marked "Treasurer's Salary" made out to and signed by then-Treasurer Chandra Crandall.

The problem: no salary for the Treasurer had been authorized.

According to the police report, there were also dozens of other unauthorized expenditures and withdrawals, including checks and debits traced back to Crandall.

The total: over $39,000.

On July 6 of last year, Crandall was arrested. An embezzlement case was opened. Jackson County Court records show Crandall pled guilty, was convicted on February 28th of this year, and ordered to pay back the funds.

The police report also lists "Music in the Park", which provides entertainment at the Farmers Market, as an "additional victim" of Crandall's. The head of "Music in the Park": Crandall's father, Joseph DeBoe.

I reached out to DeBoe. He did not wish to appear on camera, but told me he has taken over as President of Grass Lake Farmers Market since the end of last year…and is committed to ensuring there are no financial improprieties moving forward.

To that end, he says a dual signature policy has been implemented, as well as monthly reviews and quarterly budget meetings.

I also reached out to Chandra Crandall, but she did not respond.

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