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Newbo Evolve was going to be all the rage, a game-changer for Cedar Rapids and the NewBo District when it was announced back in 2018. Go Cedar Rapids, which at the time was the name for the Cedar Rapids convention and visitors' bureau was the spearhead bringing top music acts Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson to town, along with a variety of other festivities, activities, and seminars. And, it did.

Then it all went south. After the event, we found out, and continue to see just how much it cost our city to put on this wildly ambitious event when Go Cedar Rapids folded after incurring 2.3 million dollars in debt. Vendors suffered as they weren't paid and the same effect was felt by other businesses associated with Go Cedar Rapids and New Bo Evolve either directly or indirectly.  At the head of the podium to announce this spectacular-on-paper but disastrously executed event were Go Cedar Rapids executives, former President Aaron McCreight, and ex-finance director Doug Hargrave, now residing in Alabama and Washington state, respectively.

KCRG now says the two now face federal charges that were filed in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.

According to KCRG

Court documents say McCreight and Hargrave allegedly defrauded the bank by misrepresenting Newbo Evolve’s ticket sales, projected revenue, projected expenses, and the true amount of loss expected.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars were financed to Go Cedar Rapids and the NewBo Evolve organizers based on fraudulent information provided by McCreight and Hargrave, who will face a court hearing on a yet-undisclosed date in Cedar Rapids.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette says that because only 8,340 tickets were sold out of an anticipated 22,000, and only 602 of an anticipated 4,000 3-day passes at $375 apiece, the organizers of the festival were unable to repay a $1.5 million bank loan.

Up to 30 years in prison, fines, and supervised release could be on the docket for McCreight and Hargrave if convicted.

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