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Corn Palace Director Steps Down

March 4, 2014, 10:06 PM by Leland Steva

Corn Palace Director Steps Down

There is controversy at the Corn Palace after its director Mark Schilling resigned following a state audit of the city-owned building.

Over 200,000 people visit the Corn Palace every year, but the one person that oversees its entire operation has stepped down.

While he can't talk specifics due to an ongoing investigation, Mitchell Mayor Ken Tracy said he requested an audit of the palace because of concerns of its operations. The mayor was surprised by what the South Dakota Department of Legislative Audit later presented.

"Due to the seriousness of the findings I felt I had no other alternatives but to ask for the resignation of Mark Schilling, the Corn Palace Director," Tracy said.

Tracy believes Schilling was the only person that did any wrongdoing. While disappointed, the Mayor doesn't want to say that Schilling's decisions warrant legal action. 

"My basis for the dismissal of Mr. Schilling is not related necessarily for criminal action but failure to follow procedure and city policy," Tracy said.

The building is due a $7.2 million upgrade to improve the overall feel of the Corn Palace. The city's mayor doesn't think that this recent resignation will slow down the renovation process.

"For the most part I think those decisions as to what will be done regarding the types of renovations that we're going to undertake have been made so I don't know not having Mark's presence and input at this time will greatly affect that," Tracy said.

Overall, Tracy feels Schilling did a great job running the facility. For now, the mayor is ready to move past the distraction and says Assistant Director Jeri Mickelson will now take over the operations of the world's only Corn Palace.

We reached out to Schilling but he didn't return our calls.

The exact results of the audit will become public record after it's presented at the next Mitchell City Council meeting on March 17.

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