By Chelle Delaney: QCS Staff
Douglas Ewing, the former general manager of the Tucumcari Holiday Inn, was arrested Wednesday on 20 felony counts for embezzlement, Tucumcari Police Chief Larry Ham said.
Ewing, 49, was arrested in Tijeras by officers from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. Officials allege he embezzled $42,500 from Tucumcari’s Holiday Inn.
If convicted, Ewing could face up to 35 years in prison, Ham said.
Police are also investigating the disappearance of an additional $95,550.07 from the motel, Ham said.
An investigation was started on Aug. 1, following a complaint by the Holiday Inn’s owner, Suheil Kare of Albuquerque, said Tucumcari Police Detective Jack Hendrickson.
In late July, Ewing left the motel and told workers he wasn’t coming back, Ham said. Ewing was chairman of Tucumcari’s Lodgers Tax Advisory Board when he left town, but there are no allegations connected to misuse of any public funds.
“The Lodgers Tax Advisory Board is strictly an advisory board. They don’t handle any funding whatsoever,” said Tucumcari City Manager Richard Primrose. “They only make recommendations on how to spend the money for promoting the city.”
The City Commission approves all expenditures and those are for promoting the city, Primrose said. No monies are given to retail establishments, only to vendors such as billboard companies, he said.
Hendrickson said police are being assisted in their investigation by the motel’s certified public accountant. “They are still auditing,” he said.
Police allege Ewing was diverting funds from guests’ credit cards to his own accounts, rather than the motel’s accounts.
Police said Ewing was arrested without incident. Ham said Ewing will be transported to the Quay County Detention Center in about a week.