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Organizer of defunct GOP presidential forum in Kingsport charged with stealing $30,000 from donors

Staff Report • Jan 16, 2013 at 1:07 PM

A Greeneville man accused of bilking Northeast Tennessee political activists out of money for a 2011 Republican presidential campaign forum that never happened was arrested Wednesday in Middle Tennessee.

Fabian Farrell Story, 36, executive director of Conservatives on the Move, was indicted by a Washington County grand jury in November on one count of theft over $10,000.

In a news release, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Story contacted Johnson City political activist Kay White on July 1, 2011, to help Story raise money and organize the event. White raised approximately $30,000 and deposited it in a Washington County bank.

The TBI investigation revealed that Story withdrew the money, but the event was never held and no money was refunded to the donors, according to the release.

The TBI arrested Story on Wednesday at the Rutherford County Courthouse, Murfreesboro, where he was appearing on a child support case. He was jailed in the Rutherford County Jail on $10,000 bond and was scheduled for transfer to the Washington County Detention Center on Thursday.

In September 2011, White, a former Democratic congressional candidate turned Tea Party member, announced that she had pulled out of the event, which was scheduled for that October at Meadowview Convention Center and Resort in Kingsport, because the main organizers had not shown accountability. She had been selling tickets and organizing volunteers.

“The reason I resigned was I have asked for approximately three weeks for an accountability, and I have been given nothing,” White said at the time. “...I’m not going to lose any more of the peoples’ money.”

That August, COTM announced it would stage a GOP presidential contenders debate and star-laden fund-raising dinner featuring television commentators Karl Rove and Oliver North. Story later announced the debate had been changed to a forum because candidates didn’t like the debate format.

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