Filed for bankruptcy twice: No cause for concern, incoming CAPC director says

Thursday, August 15, 2019

By Samantha Jones

and Scott Loftis

Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com

The incoming executive director of Eureka Springs’ City Advertising and Promotion Commission acknowledged Thursday that she has filed for personal bankruptcy protection twice, but said it shouldn’t be a factor in her job performance.

Lacey Ekberg confirmed that she declared bankruptcy in 1995 and 2006 in Idaho.

When asked if she could explain the bankruptcies, Ekberg said, "Well, no, not really."

Ekberg said the bankruptcies should not be a cause for concern.

"No, it was a divorce situation," she said. "So no."

Ekberg declined to elaborate on whether she was referring to the 1995 or 2006 case when she mentioned a divorce.

While Ekberg said the CAPC was "made very aware" of the bankruptcies during the hiring process, commissioners Susan Harman and Terry McClung said they did not know about the bankruptcies.

"What does that have to do with the price of butter?" McClung said. "It's not a concern for me. I don't know anything about it, but there are checks and balances. She doesn't just come in and write checks for this or that or anything."

McClung added, "I can't speak to whether she's been bankrupt or not. I'm not bothered with it."

Finance director Rick Bright said the checks and balances on an executive director are an important part of the CAPC.

"They're required to have spending approved through the finance department," Bright said. "This isn't the first candidate we've had who has declared bankruptcy."

Harman said she'd like to get more information on what happened.

"I don't know if it was medical-related or something like that," Harman said. "I don't really have an answer at this time, because I'd like to know what it was for."

Court records indicate Ekberg filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on April 18, 2006, in United States Bankruptcy Court in Idaho. The case was discharged on Aug. 17, 2006.

The petition for bankruptcy filed in that case indicates Ekberg had $156,430 in assets and $177,865 in liabilities. Assets included a home in Teton, Idaho, valued at $149,000. Liabilities included $139,000 for the home, $4,330 for two automobiles and $33,305 to “creditors holding unsecured nonpriority claims.”

Those unsecured claims included $8,445 in credit card debt, a total of $10,190 in medical expenses and $13,949 for a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup truck that was repossessed in December 2005, according to the petition for bankruptcy.

Ekberg’s income was listed at $1,350 monthly, while her monthly expenses were listed at $1,350.

The 2006 petition indicated that Ekberg had previously filed for bankruptcy protection in 1995, also in Idaho. Although specific details for that case were unavailable, an employee of the bankruptcy court said Lacey A. Powell filed for Chapter 7 protection on Sept. 1, 1995. That case was discharged on Dec. 15, 1995. Ekberg confirmed that she filed that case as Lacey Powell.

Lacey Powell filed for divorce from her then-husband on Oct. 1, 1991, in Canyon County (Idaho) Magistrate Court, records indicate. A decree was originally issued on May 22, 1992, and an amended decree stipulating that Lacey Powell would receive $200 per month in child support was issued on June 2, 1992.

Ekberg said CAPC chairwoman Carol Wright knew about the bankruptcies, but Wright declined to comment. Ekberg said she's looking forward to starting the job, saying her first day is Thursday, Aug. 15. Bright said the executive director's salary is $75,000.

"There's just going to be a lot of communication that needs to be happening there between all the different organizations and the city," Ekberg said. "It's going to be a huge strategic planning situation with my board."

Ekberg’s resume indicates she has served in several similar positions, including jobs in Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, Texas and Florida. She was chief executive officer and president of the Hot Springs Village Chamber of Commerce from September 2010 to June 2011 — a role that her resume describes as a “short term contract” for restructuring that chamber.

Ekberg served as executive director of the DeLand Chamber of Commerce in Florida from January to November 2017, before working as a “sub-contractor for consultation with various Chambers, CVBs and municipalities,” her resume says.

“I am no longer wanting to contract for a short term, but looking for a long-term commitment from a community to engage in enhancement and advancement of their Chamber and CVB,” Ekberg’s resume says.

The CAPC selected Ekberg as its new executive director on July 10 after narrowing a list of more than 200 applicants down to three in late June. Former CAPC director Mike Maloney announced in January that he intended to retire at the end of April after eight years in the position.

On April 10, Bright was named interim director while the commission searched for Maloney's replacement.

The commission held multiple workshops to hear from CAPC staff and the community while interviewing applicants.

Maloney was hired as the director of the Advertising and Promotions Commission for the city of Lowell on April 25 and started work in that part-time position by mid-May.

The CAPC is funded by a 3 percent sales tax on all prepared food, beverages and lodging in Eureka Springs. Those funds are used to advertise and promote the city, as well as provide advertising and promotional support to attractions, businesses, festivals, meetings and events that bring people to Eureka Springs.

The CAPC’s total 2019 budget is $1,574,100.

For more information on how the CAPC spends its tax dollars, visit https://capc.biz/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Media-Buys-2019.pdf.

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