DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Two key Dothan commissioners could help determine the fate of the CEO and President of Visit Dothan who recently admitted to swindling millions from a bank and vendors in Iowa.
On Tuesday, David Crutchfield and Kevin Dorsey, the commissioners who sit on Visit Dothan’s Board of Directors said they are standing by confessed felon Aaron McCreight.
“Aaron is doing what he was hired to do when he was brought here,” Crutchfield said. “The board, through our statement, is supporting him and we just continue to support him until something changes that change the board’s mind.”
Confessing to committing felony bank fraud charges is not one of the things that would change the board’s mind.
Aaron McCreight pleaded guilty to knowingly committing fraud in Cedar Rapids, giving phony numbers, misleading vendors to get money for a festival that cost the bank, and vendors more than $2 million they never got back.
Shortly after he was fired as President and CEO of Go-Cedar Rapids, McCreight found himself a job with the same title and responsibilities in Dothan. Visit Dothan’s Board told WDHN on Friday that they knew McCreight had been fired for the bank fraud incident before they hired him.
“As an individual, I believe in second chances,” Dorsey said. “I am all for second chances and doing what is right and giving a person what is due.”
When McCreight is sentenced he could get up to 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and up to five years of supervised release following any prison sentence.
WDHN tried to talk with McCreight about his bank fraud confession, however, McCreight refused to talk about any of that. Instead, he wanted to focus on his accomplishments.
“Our hotel numbers are incredible, McCreight said. “We are in the top 5% in the country as far as hotel occupancy and where we are right now compared to colleagues and cities around the state.”
But do a quick Google search and those positives won’t be the news that stands out. Instead, you’ll see pages and pages of the current federal bank fraud case surrounding McCreight. Something many people from out of state see when deciding to come to Dothan.
“Well I’ll say this, I voted, so I mean I think that speaks for itself,” Dorsey said.
Both Dorsey and Crutchfield point to the revenue that the organization brings into the city. In 2021, Visit Dothan reported a total of $13 million being brought in by visitor spending and $4.5 million on hotel revenue alone. They say before McCreight, these numbers were much lower.
“I think Aaron has done a great job,” Crutchfield said. “His office is doing a great job. Working with different departments in the city and with groups outside of the city to do what he was hired to do, and I think he has done that.”
Some Dothan residents are outraged that city officials are still giving McCreight strong support after he pled guilty to bank fraud charges. Just a quick check of social media reveals comments like “unbelievable” and ‘welcome to crookville.”
Of course, you can trust WDHN to keep you updated as the story develops and let you know whenever McCreight is sentenced.