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Rapid City Rush rebuilds reputation after sentencing of former bookkeeper

Part of fixing the damage done is by rebuilding relationships.
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 2:38 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - For almost a decade, the Rapid City Rush’s former bookkeeper, Jennifer Durham, embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars. Durham was sentenced Monday to just over three years in prison.

$700,000. That’s the amount embezzled by the Rush’s former bookkeeper. An amount that could make a big difference in any organization.

“There’s the money side of it, which obviously, everyone can tell that $700,000 is an impactful amount of money to lose as an organization, but it’s also reputation in the community,” said Todd Mackin, the Rush’s president. “And I think that’s one of the things that we really want to stand on our toes on and say, ‘we’re back, we’re going to do things the right way.’”

Mackin said the effect of the theft was felt on all levels.

“Whether that was the community side of things, whether that’s our player retention, whether that’s our staff retention and certainly with our season ticket holders and our fans,” said Mackin. “What we’ve really tried to do is let everyone know that it has been fixed.”

Part of the “fix” was Durham’s sentencing to three years in prison and $700,000 in restitution. The other part is rebuilding relationships, which is especially difficult with the pandemic taking a hit at the team.

“We need you,” said Mackin. “We need our fans. We have a really neat opportunity with everything that’s going on with the pandemic to really show the country that we want to do things the right way, we want to pack our building, we want to have fun., we want to do it in a safe manner, and we want to be an organization that every other organization in our league and in sports, in general, can look to as the people that did it right.”

Mackin said this was one person’s choice and that management is taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“Our parent company now is a holdings company. It is a company that has checks and balances; it does audits; it does those things. Additionally, I have 20 years of sports experience. I know when things don’t look right,” said Mackin. “Our organization stands firm on those things, and we do checks and balances every single day to make sure nothing like this could or would ever happen.”

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