“We trusted him. We weren’t suspecting criminal activity, just simply a work overload perhaps, or a certain arrogance about what he was expected to do, but no one was thinking it was criminal activity,” Dawson told the grand jury last month.
But that perception started to change as the board instituted new reporting oversight.
On April 17, the association’s former treasurer, Maureen Palacios, collected the market fees — 10% from the food vendors and a flat fee of $35 from collectibles and antique dealers. She recorded collecting more than $3,000 — far more than the less than $1,000 per market typically reported by Drayman.
“I was flabbergasted,” Palacios told the jurors.
She called her husband to tell him the news. He told her to count the money again.
The market had been running a roughly $30,000 annual deficit, forcing the association to cover the debt with mandatory assessments paid by local merchants, about $15,000 in annual city redevelopment funds and other money, according to the testimony.