Funding dispute erupts over White Christmas Ball

Kaely Moore | Boulder Weekly

A dispute over Boulder’s 1940s WWII Swing Era Ball has each side accusing the other of mismanaging funds.  

Three people identifying themselves as board members of the Ball’s nonprofit — Wanda Plimmer, Robert Dudley and Chris Dailey, CEO of Boulder Creek Events Productions — have filed a lawsuit against executive director of the Decibelle Music and Culture Festival, Khyentse James, accusing her of misappropriating corporate funds and corporate opportunities, engaging in deceptive trade practices and violating fiduciary duties.

The WWII Ball is an event that celebrates the music, dance and culture of the 1940s era, featuring costumes, dance lessons and celebrity impersonators. Proceeds from the Ball go to organizations like the Spirit of Flight Center Colorado and the Wounded Warrior Project.

James said that she first created the Ball because she grew up in a family of pilots that also had a strong connection with music and radio in the 1940s. She said she began working with Dailey in early 2010 and the two soon formed the nonprofit in the name of the Ball.

James is accused of transferring funds from an account designated for the WWII Ball directly into her personal account. The plaintiffs also claim in the suit that the board has rights to a database of information concerning the organization of the event for both summer and winter, as well as to the domain name for the Ball’s website. 

“Our attorney would not put anything in the lawsuit without us first providing him with genuine, indisputable documentation, which we did,” Dailey said.

James disputes that a board was ever formed for the nonprofit. She also said that Dailey knew about and agreed to the money transfer into her account. As the originator of the WWII Ball, she also said that she created the database and website before she ever met Dailey. The nonprofit may have rights to the actual domain name, James said, but she owns the copyright to the site’s design, content and mission statement.  

James said she is filing a countersuit against Dailey, claiming that he took $5,000 in cash at the White Christmas Ball in December, a claim he denies.

“No one from the board has ever heard about any money missing,” he said. “And it’s simply not true.”

James said that she feels the lawsuit is an effort to take away the events that she started and has been working on for years.

“I know this is going to be really, really difficult, but it’s something I’m willing to deal with to stop him from doing this to someone else,” James said. “It’s one of the most disheartening things I’ve ever experienced.”

In recent years, Dailey has also been engaged in a dispute with the city of Boulder, over the ownership of the Boulder Creek Festival.