Longtime Maryfest members get to return, judge rules

MARYSVILLE — A preliminary injunction was granted Tuesday in a lawsuit involving Maryfest, the volunteer organization that runs the Marysville Strawberry Festival.

As a result, some longtime Maryfest volunteers who had been banned from returning by a “secret agreement” by previous officers will be allowed to return: Carol Kapua, Alice and Arvin Van Beek and Cheryl Deckard.

The lawsuit has been weighing heavily on the mind of Maryfest president Jodi Hiatt. “That does take pressure off my shoulders,” she said Wednesday.

With Kapua back, she will lead the efforts with the parade and sponsorships. Arvin Van Beek will provide VIP transportation and “Alice will help wherever needed,” Hiatt said. Deckard will return to write a community column about the festival.

The lawsuit was filed April 13 by the state Attorney General’s Office. Snohomish County Judge Eric Lucas allowed the preliminary injunction. Lucas ruled that the state and Maryfest would likely prevail at trial. The court will now consider whether to throw out the agreement entirely. The AG’s lawsuit states:

In January of 2017, Maryfest’s executive committee, in an emergency secret session, signed a confidential “Secret Settlement” with Mark Jensen. The settlement provides large payouts to unrelated organizations, bans several previous directors from rejoining, and promises to pay out as much as $175,000 to Jensen should certain conditions occur.

Jensen was a director of the Holiday Treasure Chest Charity Foundation, a nonprofit formed in 2008 as “Seafair Pirates Charity Foundation.” The foundation received at least one unlawful payment from Maryfest for $10,000 as a result of the secret settlement.

In early 2017 Mayor Jon Nehring called a meeting between the city and some Maryfest officers because of concerns about Jensen, who was vice president. Jensen agreed to resign but not before binding Maryfest to a separation agreement.

The agreement says Maryfest would ban some previous board members from rejoining, pay Jensen $25,000 per individual if they did, defend Jensen from any claims brought by previous board members, donate $10,000 to the Treasure Chest charity, donate $4,000 to the Marysville Community Lunch Program in his name, and keep the agreement confidential, even from non-executive committee Maryfest board members.

The papers say a number of issues should void the secret pact. The previous Maryfest board lacked a quorum for the “Secret Settlement.” It also wasn’t done in an open meeting. Jensen, and the rest of the officers, failed to act in good faith and in the best interest of Maryfest. And the $175,000 part of the pact also is void because Maryfest’s articles of incorporation prohibit such a disbursement. Maryfest president Jodi Hiatt said in a separate email that the current board “supports this action by the attorney general and believes the purported agreement was legally defective and not in the best interest of Maryfest Inc. or the Marysville community.”

Hiatt said by phone Wednesday that with Kapua returning she hopes the Tulalip Tribes and other sponsors also will return.

“They have been wonderful supporters in the past,” Hiatt said.

The only major changes this year will be the return of the Fashion Show, and there won’t be any fireworks. Hiatt said that was because the city was planning to have fireworks on July 4, but that didn’t pan out.

Despite the late start, Hiatt said Maryfest has a strong board and “their hearts are into it. We will do everything we can to put on a festival that will make this community proud.”

This year’s 87th festival will take place June 9-17.

More in News

Inslee: Stay home for 2 weeks

By Jerry Cornfield and Zachariah Bryan The Herald OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay… Continue reading

Fences have been put up around Marysville playgrounds to keep kids off. (Steve Powell/Staff Photos)
Marysville leaders concerned as (almost) everything’s closing

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe.com MARYSVILLE – Within hours of Gov. Jay Inslee’s… Continue reading

Briefly

Beware of coronavirus scams SEATTLE – U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran is… Continue reading

Jennifer Thompson, left, and her father Ron Thompson secure a new remembrance plaque to the Oso slide site gate on Sunday, near Oso. Ron Thompson handcrafts a new plaque for the gate every year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Community remembers Oso slide victims, survivors

By Ben Watanabe The Herald OSO — The power of remembering the… Continue reading

People gather to pick up special allergy meals before leaving Lakewood High School on Wednesday in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Districts taking meals to students since schools are closed

By Stephanie Davey The Herald LAKEWOOD — Children wearing pajamas stood outside… Continue reading

Jon Nehring
Letter about coronavirus from Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring

This is an edited version of a letter Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring… Continue reading

DOUGLAS BUell/Staff Photos
                                Lead cook Keina Gowins with Presidents Elementary hands out free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to students and parents outside the school Wednesday. Presidents and AHS serve as central kitchen sites for preparing meals, which starting next week will expand to 12 delivery sites from Silvana to Oso. Right, Arlington Food Bank executive director Carla Gastineau and Mike Simpson, food bank board president and owner of Arlington Grocery Outlet, partnered with the district with their Meals Til Monday program, and gave a woman a box of donated food while at Presidents.
Arlington students won’t go hungry during the COVID-19 school closures

ARLINGTON – Arlington schools are closed through April 24 to help fight… Continue reading

Scott Beebe hands out Chromebooks to people in their cars. (Steve Powell/Staff Photos)
Marysville parents anxious to pick up school materials for kids

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe.com MARYSVILLE – A few days ago Marysville schools… Continue reading

Jon Nehring
Marysville leaders’ trip to D.C. productive

MARYSVILLE – City leaders recently obtained advice on how to get more… Continue reading

Crews will blow garbage into the street and sweep it up over the next few weeks. The city is asking people to move their cars, trash cans and recycle bins when they come around to help them do a thorough job. (Courtesy Photo)
Marysville shuffles workers due to virus, seeks public’s help for sweepers next week

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe. MARYSVILLE – From working from home to teleconferencing… Continue reading

Arlington closed until April 24 amid COVID-19 outbreak: what’s next?

ARLINGTON – When Arlington public school leaders met for a special meeting… Continue reading