Deadline to repay $15,000 for Mayweather event passes without exchange of money

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A repayment deadline issued by the Kansas City leaders has passed, but there is no sign of $15,000 at City Hall.

Last week, City Manager Troy Schulte sent a letter to the organizer of a group that was supposed to bring world-famous boxer Floyd Mayweather to town on December 8. The event never happened, and Kansas City asked for a refund of the city money.

Ossco Bolton, the executive director of Peers Organized to Support Student Excellence (POSSE) , received the $15,000 to support the planned Mayweather event. He was ordered to pay back the money by Thursday.

A spokesman for the city said the situation will now be turned over to the legal department.

Prior to the deadline, 41 Action News called and emailed Bolton to ask about whether he planned to repay the money.

Bolton emailed a response, but did not address the $15,000.

"At this point we are going to have an event on February 8th & 9th 2013. Mr. Floyd Mayweather Sr. has agreed to come to Kansas City and host an event for our youth," Bolton's email said.

Bolton received the funds after Councilman Michael Brooks directly requested the money from the city manager.

An open-records request by 41 Action News showed the $15,000 check was cashed the same day it was received on October 26. But it remains unclear how that money was spent.

41 Action News attempted to ask Brooks about the incident after a meeting on December 12, but the councilman ducked the questions , citing an ongoing internal investigation.

The December 8 event was supposed to take place at the Gregg/Klice Community Center. However, the community services manager for the Parks and Recreation Department, Mark Bowland, said no date had been reserved and no deposit had been paid.

"We had some conversations about the idea awhile ago," Bowland said. "But nothing was ever confirmed with the community center."

41 Action News also spoke with Mayweather's adviser earlier this month, who said the boxer had never been contacted or agreed to an event speaking to youth in Kansas City.

An open-records request also revealed Bolton and Ron Hunt, who operates a nonprofit called Young, Gifted & Artistic, submitted a joint application requesting $20,000 from the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund on October 15.

The NTDF is a reimbursement grant program available to local organizations for the purpose of promoting Kansas City's neighborhoods through cultural, social, ethnic, historic, educational and recreational activities.

According to the application, the money would be used for a Mayweather appearance on November 17 (different from the previously-mentioned December 8 date).

The application included a letter of support from Schulte on city stationery, which was dated October 3.

"Ossco Bolton and Ron Hunt have been planning this event since last December and have a presentation prepared about the upcoming event and plans on how to raise money," the letter said. "The Kansas City Missouri City Manager's office supports this event and looks forward to being a part of the planning and organizing of the event."

NTDF funding also requires applicants to show neighborhood support for the proposed event. Hunt and Bolton's application included a memorandum of understanding from the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council to serve as a fiscal agent of distributing the funds.

However, Ivanhoe Executive Director Margaret May said she had no knowledge the paperwork, which did not have any signatures, was included in the application. May said she had discussed the idea about a year ago.

"There is no way we would be a fiscal agent without having something in writing and having the money flow through us," said May.

Barbara O'Shea, who oversees the NTDF process, said the application would not have received approval in time for the event's scheduled date.

Applicants are asked to make a presentation before an NTDF committee. After that process, events that meet requirements are sent to the city council for recommended approval. Applications are reviewed on a quarterly basis.

The Mayweather proposal was never reviewed by the NTDF committee because of those time constraints.

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@kshb.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook .
 

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