Mississippi demands Jackson Zoo repay $350K in bond money

Published 3:52 pm Saturday, August 11, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is demanding that the Jackson Zoo repay $350,000 in state bond money.

News outlets report the state Department of Finance and Administration sent a letter Thursday to the zoo’s interim director, Dave Wetzel.

The letter says the zoo “knowingly and willfully” violated terms of how state bond money could be spent. It says for years, zoo officials used bond money to pay day-to-day operation expenses, then repaid state bond funds by using other sources of money.

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The state agency demands repayment by mid-November.

The letter was sent the same day Beth Poff resigned as zoo director, and about a week after the Jackson City Council approved $200,000 to cover the zoo’s “depleted” budget.

Zoo attendance dropped from more than 185,000 guests in 2003 to just over 100,000 in 2017.