Board voted to fire Blue Plum director week before her forgery arrest

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – The Friends of Olde Downtowne board voted to terminate Deanna Hays’ contract a week before police arrested the woman on a forgery charge.

According to President Shannon Castillo, “formal written notice has been sent to Ms. Hays’ attorney” about the board’s decision to terminate her contract.

Hays, the former director of the Blue Plum Festival, pleaded not guilty in Washington County Sessions Court Wednesday to forging nearly $50,000 worth of checks belonging to the organization. Johnson City police arrested her Tuesday.

Investigators say board members alerted them to possible criminal activity connected to Hays on June 14, the same day the board voted to fire her. Police say Hays was responsible for the organization’s finances.

Court documents reveal she reportedly began forging checks in September 2015 and continued through the beginning of June. Her arrest warrant reveals she reportedly forged 38 checks over the course of those nine months. Investigators say all but one of those checks were written in her name. The other was written in the name of her child, according to the court document.

Police say Hays confessed to the crime.

Copyright WJHL 2016. All rights reserved.

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