Reforming the Fresno CVB

Bureau Shapes Up in Wake of Embezzlement Scandal

Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center


Fresno Convention and
Entertainment Center

In California, the Fresno Convention and Visitors Bureau is reviewing its financial and operational policies after a former bookkeeper at the bureau was charged with embezzling $56,000.

Deanna Gonzalez, the bureau employee who allegedly used a company credit card and fraudulent company checks for personal use in 2005 and 2006, pleaded not guilty to grand theft in late March.

CVB executive director Wayne Bennett said the bureau conducted a thorough review of its policies and has already made some positive fixes. Approximately $100,000 worth of debt, inherited when Bennett joined the bureau in fall 2005, has been paid off, he said, and the bureau no longer uses corporate cards.

But city council representative Jerry Duncan doubts that the CVB should be allowed to continue to sell convention business. “My concerns are primarily focused on the current board and the lack of proper management,” he said.

Depending on how funds are allocated in the mayor’s next budget proposal, due later this month, the city could choose to put SMG, which manages the bureau and the convention center, in charge of sales or “dissolve the CVB” and “reform it under new board members and bylaws,” according to Duncan.

The bureau’s bookings have not been affected, Bennett said.