Organizers no longer believe money was stolen from King event
URBANA — Upon further review, the organizers of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service of Celebration on Jan. 15 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts no longer believe donation money is missing from the event.
The Rev. Claude E. Shelby Sr., president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Advocacy for Justice Committee, said committee members erroneously reported to University of Illinois police that six out of 37 collection baskets distributed to attendees at the Martin Luther King event were not returned to the ushers.
"One of our committee members had assumed that all 37 baskets were passed out to the audience, when this was not the case," Shelby told The News-Gazette on Monday night.
When committee members counted $1,800 less in contributions than was collected in 2011, the difference in the counted amounts was also reported to UI police.
Lt. Roy Acree of the UI Police Department said a Krannert employee found five of the six collection baskets that had been reported missing in a backstage area that leads to the dock area at Krannert on Jan. 18. The employee turned the baskets over to a UI police detective.
Shelby said the organizing committee concluded at a meeting held on Friday that those baskets never were distributed to the audience at the MLK event after the detective presented the baskets to the group.
Furthermore, Shelby said that those people originally counting the money collected at the event miscalculated the amount of money received.
The Rev. Jeff Trask, associate pastor at New Covenant Fellowship and treasurer for the organization, recounted the money and found that a total of $3,320.75 was collected.
"It was concluded that, in all likelihood, no funds were taken," Shelby said.
Acree said that UI police had not yet confirmed as of Monday night whether any money is missing.