116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The former president of Iowa City Pride is accused of spending a little more than $35,000 of the organization’s funds on unauthorized transactions from May to November 2021.
Anthony Sivanthaphanith, 37, of Iowa City, was arrested Thursday morning on a charge of first-degree theft, a felony.
Sivanthaphanith, who was also interim treasurer for part of 2021, spent $35,732.32 of the organization’s funds on restaurants, retail, travel and personal bills, as well as cash withdrawals, according to a criminal complaint.
Sivanthaphanith’s social media and email “document his pattern of behavior,” the complaint states, “and he made admissions to his involvement and spending money without permission.”
Members of the LGBTQ group were notified last fall of a bounced payment to a staging vendor, which prompted the review of accounting records, according to a search warrant application filed by Iowa City police earlier this year. The internal review showed the “many unauthorized transactions.”
A police call for service showed a theft was reported on Dec. 2, 2021, at 13 S. Linn St., which is the location of Studio 13, Yacht Club and Joystick Comedy Arcade.
Court records show police seized Sivanthaphanith’s cellphone Jan. 24, and he was also interviewed by detectives.
Sivanthaphanith served as president of Iowa City Pride from fall 2019 to December 2021. Before that, he was on the organization’s board for eight years.
The treasurer of Iowa City Pride stepped down in March 2021. Sivanthaphanith offered to take over treasurer duties until elections occurred in the fall.
He was issued a debit card and access to the organization’s bank account, according to the criminal complaint.
Documents say it was standard procedure that the president and treasurer were issued debit cards, and any expenditures for the organization to be approved by its board of directors.
The transactions — which were not previously approved by the organization — occurred in at least seven cities, including Nashville, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids, according to the search warrant application from earlier this year.
Sivanthaphanith was booked in the Johnson County Jail early Thursday and released a little more than five hours later.
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