Source: Idaho Aquarium management stealing from nonprofit

Source: Idaho Aquarium management stealing from nonprofit

Source: Idaho Aquarium management stealing from nonprofit

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by Justin Corr and KTVB.COM

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on September 9, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:30 AM

Idaho Aquarium

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BOISE -- There's another controversial development with the Idaho Aquarium.

You might remember in February, when two of the Idaho Aquarium's directors, Ammon Covino and Chris Conk, were arrested. Both were accused of buying illegally-obtained wildlife and shipping it to Idaho.

Now, there are accusations of gross mismanagement against the board and the new director, Amanda Davison, but Davison says those accusations have no merit.

A former employee of the Idaho Aquarium -- who has asked to remain anonymous -- has detailed a number of disturbing allegations against Davison, along with former and current aquarium staff.

According to the source, the aquarium  "makes a lot of money, and the money doesn't go back to the animals, or back to education, or back to conservation. It goes right into the pockets of the people who run the place."

DIRECTOR RESPONDS

KTVB's source says the non-profit Idaho Aquarium is being run improperly and unethically. Other former and current employees we talked to echoed those accusations. They claim funds meant for the animals were pocketed by former director Chris Conk, and they say Davison is unqualified, receiving her job because of a relationship with Conk.

Davison, who believes she knows who these accusations are coming from, points out that the former employee was fired and she says that person is simply disgruntled.

"She's out to hurt us," Davison told KTVB.

In response to the allegations, Davison says donations to the aquarium do go to the animals. She also reports that an $11,000 bonus that was reportedly given to Conk was "back pay" for doing the work of two directors after Covino left earlier this year.

Davison also defended her appointment, saying that she's simply friends with Conk, has worked or volunteered there since the aquarium opened, and says it was an aquarium board decision to make her interim director.

"It was decided by the board that it's a temporary position until we do a global search to see if there's somebody more qualified," Davison said.

SOURCE: AQUARIUM'S 'DEATH LOG' INCOMPLETE

The anonymous former employee also claims aquarium management is cutting corners to save money, and that animals are suffering. The source provided KTVB with a "death log" from the aquarium that allegedly has dozens of missing entries meant to cover up the aquarium's neglect for animals.

"The animals are not taken care of the way they should be," the source told KTVB.

Davison disputes that allegation, saying the so-called death log was stolen, and the former employee is distorting the truth.

"Unfortunately, sometimes animals die due to certain circumstances, but we do everything here to prevent it," Davison said.

According to Davison, the Aquarium is now trying to move forward despite the criticism and past controversy.

"It's just sad they're trying to wreck something that we're trying to do that's great for the community," Davison said.

However, KTVB's anonymous source maintains that aquarium managers are just trying to line their pockets with ill-gotten cash from the non-profit business.

"With these people running it, it's just a scam," the source told KTVB.

CONTROVERSY SPILLS OVER TO SOCIAL MEDIA

A number of KTVB viewers have reported accusations of mismanagement posted on the Aquarium's Twitter and Facebook pages. These accusations appear to be posts from the Aquarium's official Facebook and Twitter accounts. However, managers say these social media updates are not legitimate.

So while the aquarium claims it's been "hacked," former and current employees say they're just posting their opinions using these official channels.

The Aquarium's Twitter feed has reported a protest this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at the Idaho Aquarium. It's unclear if this social post is condoned by the management.

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