Magic Valley YMCA Moving Forward after New Audits Show No Embezzlement

Magic Valley YMCA Moving Forward after New Audits Show No Embezzlement

The Magic Valley YMCA in Twin Falls, Idaho, released a statement that it is back on track after being put on probation in May by the national YMCA and after charges that a former CEO misappropriated $700,000 in donations.

The Magic Valley YMCA in Twin Falls, Idaho, released a statement that it is back on track after being put on probation in May by the national YMCA and after charges that it misappropriated $700,000 in donations.

Two certified public accounting firms recently completed audits of the Magic Valley Y's finances and reported no signs of embezzlement, the Y announced Friday.

The Magic Valley Y reportedly had stopped paying dues to the national YMCA and failed to submit financial audits since 2008, according to a story in the Magic Valley Times-News. The local YMCA board asked for help when it realized Garry Ettenger, the CEO of the Y at that time, was “providing false financial information" after a February assessment was conducted by the national YMCA. That assessment was later obtained by the Times-News.

Ettenger resigned in March after seven years on the job.

The Magic Valley Y was close to insolvency, according to the documents that the Times-News obtained.

Audits in 2014 and 2015 found that under Ettenger’s management, the nonprofit also failed to pay $126,000 in payroll taxes and was in a repayment plan with the federal government. The Y also misappropriated, among other monies, a $600,000 donation from the Kyle family, which owns local McDonald’s franchises, to renovate a pool into an indoor water park, but no construction was done. Now back on track, the opening is planned for New Year’s Day 2017.


In a written statement provided to the Times-News and posted to the Y's website, YMCA Board Chairman Andy Barry said the nonprofit had failed the community and wants to restore public trust, and that in the past three months, the YMCA has cut or reduced overhead (including layoffs) and operating expenses, ordered a temporary 10 percent pay cut for senior staff, and tapped Barry as interim volunteer CEO. The Y also has paid its back taxes and cut its operational deficit by 53 percent, the Times-News reports.

“The Magic Valley YMCA board of directors has made tremendous progress in the last six months in getting the organization back on track and focused on the YMCA mission,” the organization wrote in the statement. The board then underwent a reorganization and governance training from its national organization. The statement from the Y said that it plans to operate on a balanced budget within six months.

The Magic Valley YMCA serves about 7,000 residents.

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