Embattled MPI Foundation Executive Director Christine Roberts resigned from MPI in the wake of gross misconduct allegations of steering over a quarter million dollars in contracts to the event company of her boyfriend, Marcus Michaud, during her employment at the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB.
Roberts, who served as vice president of convention sales at the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, and her boyfriend Michaud are maintaining their innocence following accusations detailed in a report from the Broward Office of the Inspector General, which also referenced “a prohibited conflicting relationship" related to a loan agreement.
MPI COO Darren Temple issued the following statement Thursday, October 4:
"Effective immediately, Christine Roberts has resigned from Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation. We thank Christine for her service to MPI and the MPI Foundation and wish her success as she pursues her next opportunities.
“While Ms. Roberts maintains her innocence in regard to the allegations against her, she recognizes the potential distraction of her continued association with an organization defined by its commitment to the highest standards of ethics, accounting and transparency. It was for this reason that she has chosen to resign.
"In light of our continued commitment to fiduciary excellence, MPI commenced its own, internal review upon learning of the allegations against Ms. Roberts.
“While this review will continue and include a full, independent review, we have so far found nothing to suggest any deviation from our normal procedures or that might otherwise jeopardize our exceptional fiscal health or our continued leadership in the meeting and event industry."
Chief Operations Officer
Meeting Professionals International
Summary of the Broward County OIG Report
According to the report from Inspector General John W. Scott, published September 27, 2018, and entitled Ethics, Sunshine, and Procurement Misconduct and Gross Mismanagement in the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), the Broward OIG determined that Roberts "corruptly misused her position within the CVB to orchestrate the selection of her boyfriend Marcus Michaud’s event production company between 2012, the year she and Mr. Michaud started dating, and 2015, the year he stopped working with the CVB.”
The report continues: “Ms. Roberts’s misconduct benefited Mr. Michaud’s company with approximately $255,570 of county business. She also had a conflicting contractual relationship with Mr. Michaud by giving him a loan while she, through the CVB, did business with him.”
Christine Roberts and Marcus Michaud Maintain Innocence
Attorneys for Roberts and Michaud said on Thursday, October 4 that the report was biased and left out key facts. The Mayersohn Law Group release said the two did not break any laws.
Following is the response to the original Meetings Today story from Leah H. Mayersohn, Esq.
“As you know the meetings industry is a relationship business, many people in the industry have met their spouses and significant others through the business.
“Marcus and Christine met while they were working together.
“He had done work with the CVB before she met him and he had a longstanding, good reputation in the meetings industry before they met, including with the CVB. They were open about our relationship and fully disclosed it to everyone that they were working with at the CVB.
“The OIG report failed to cover all of the CVB events over the applicable time frame, so it presents a myopic view of contracts awarded. Furthermore, it doesn’t consider that contracts were often awarded to Marcus per the request of vendors or other contractors who were already doing work for the CVB and wanted him to continue working on their project for continuity. Christine never had ultimate or signatory authority over awarding contracts that would have benefitted Marcus due to her position.
“Other CVB employees who she did not supervise were responsible for awarding these contracts.
“I’m confident that when all of the facts and circumstances surrounding these events are disclosed, there will be a different view of the events surrounding this investigation.”
View the Original News Story From Meetings Today: