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Arts Council Fires Executive Director

Sheriff’s Office Has Launched Fraud Investigation

The board of directors of the Arts Council of Mercer County fired Executive Director Sarah Tolbert in April. The sheriff’s office has confirmed that a fraud investigation has been opened.

Jennifer Marsh

Herald Staff

The Arts Council of Mercer County fired Executive Director Sarah Morgan Tolbert on Monday, April 22, after donors and artists expressed concerns about financial discrepancies.

According to an official press release from the board of directors, an investigation into Tolbert’s activities while she served as director is now underway.

“We uncovered expenditures that were outside the scope of Arts Council operations,” said Gemma Zieglar, the past president of the board of directors, who served as spokesperson for the group.

Dep. Wes Gaddis of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a fraud investigation had been opened, but could not comment on the case.

“The board learned that the computer was wiped clean, bank passwords changed and all accounting software had been deleted,” said Zieglar. “We hired an employee and gave her complete trust that the gallery would be operated completely above the board. Sadly this wasn’t the case.”

Tolbert has served as executive director since March 2018. A Danville native, she earned her bachelor’s in art history and master’s in museum studies from Northern Kentucky University. She could not be reached for comment on this story.

For more information on the Arts Council of Mercer County, visit their website at

Find the rest of the story on page 1A of this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald or click here to to subscribe.

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