POWELL, Ohio — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Board of Directors has agreed to a financial settlement with the zoo’s former chief executive officer.
Last year, an investigation revealed Tom Stalf was responsible for $423,049 in losses to the zoo during his time as CEO. Zoo officials confirmed the Board of Directors approved a $400,000 settlement with Stalf on Friday.
Stalf is one of four former zoo officials accused of misusing funds to let family members live in houses controlled by the zoo and attend entertainment events for free.
The zoo first announced in January it had reached settlements with two other officials in response to the investigation’s findings. Former Chief Financial Officer Greg Bell agreed to repay the zoo $132,000, and former Director of Purchasing Tracy Murnane will pay $11,000, according to a release.
Zoo officials said discussions with the final official, former Vice President of Marketing Peter Fingerhut, remain underway, adding “the board is prepared to pursue legal action against Mr. Fingerhut if a settlement is not reached.”
Bell and Stalf resigned from their positions last year.
The misuse of funds was part of the reason why the zoo lost its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in October. The zoo appealed the decision, but the AZA denied it in December.