Sally Symons: ‘An open letter of apology’

Letter to the community from Sally Symons

February 9, 2016

Dear Eastern Sierra Community,

As some of you may know I recently plead guilty to misappropriating public funds from the Tri-County Fairgrounds. I want to apologize for taking that money from the fairgrounds. I have betrayed the trust of this community, my friends, colleagues, business associates and my family. I am solely responsible for what I did and I take full responsibility for it.


I am truly sorry, embarrassed and horrified by what I have done and what it means to the community that I love so much. I took my dream job, so excited to tackle what lay ahead, and worked at doing what I loved. Then I made the biggest mistake of my life. In doing so I hurt our community, the fair, its staff and Board, the sponsors, volunteers, service groups, youth activities and event partners. If there was a way to personally apologize to each and every one of you, I would. This letter is my attempt to do just that.

I know that this admission and apology do not change what I did, nor the effects of that choice. I simply want to apologize and take responsibility for my actions. Some friends, acquaintances, and members of the community have reached out to me offering kind words and support in spite of my actions. I am incredibly humbled by these amazing people and the support they have given to me and my family. Those individuals, as well as the entire community deserve the truth.

So, I apologize for taking what was not mine from the Fairgrounds, and in turn the community. I am sorry to have put you all through yet another unnecessary and ugly drama and for damaging the trust and fabric of our community. I am taking responsibility for what I have done and will pay my due for those actions.

Finally, I believe that the Tri-County Fairgrounds is one of the greatest assets of our area. My actions should not be taken as a reflection of the fairgrounds. As participants, volunteers, sponsors, donors, competitors, spectators and event organizers, your support, whatever its form, matters. The Fair needs this community and the community needs the fair. I struggle to put into words the regret and remorse I have regarding what I have done. And it makes me incredibly sad to know that I cannot be a part of the fairgrounds future successes after so many years of great memories and events there for me and my family. I am so, so, sorry.


Sally Symons

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29 Responses to Sally Symons: ‘An open letter of apology’

  1. Indygirl February 15, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    There are so many forgiving and lovely people here in the Owens Valley. I’m proud to live here….

  2. Jim M February 11, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    We all have made mistakes, no one knows why she did it and at this point it is over with. Now pay back the money, accept the judgement that is given by the courts. As for moving? That is going to far. I really think this should be over with and people need to let it go as her family has also be hurt by all this and should not be dragged out until next year. Enough is enough people.

  3. Zena Bradley February 11, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    We love you anyway Sally!

    JEREMY: You should be ashamed!

    • Jeremy February 11, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

      Why should I be ashamed? I did not do the criminal act of stealing from the good people of this area and the Tri County fair. Your statement should be directed to the author of the letter. ADW makes a great point, it was no mistake. I stand by my earlier comment. You can accept the apology, but there are many of us in this community that will never be able to see Ms. Symons in the same light. Thank you Sierra Wave for posting comments that include varying viewpoints in this comment section.

      • Low-Inyo February 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

        Jeremy….simple answer….it’s because of your mouth,not what you might or might not have done in your life….who are you to be telling anyone to move or leave ?…if you and others “will never be able to see Ms. Symons in the same light”,and maybe think it’s “best for your children”if you don’t have to see or associate with her or anyone else… if you feel that way, maybe YOU are the ones that should leave.

  4. Rockhugr February 11, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    She still needs to do jail time just as the prior individual did. A letter does not make it right.

  5. ADW February 11, 2016 at 9:17 am #

    First, it took a lot of courage by Ms. Symons to come forward and write this apology to the community. I can’t imagine the humiliation and embarrassment she is facing.

    However, this issue will never become a teaching moment for other community members with fiduciary responsibilities or as an ethics lesson for children until one thing is clarified. Ms. Symons did not make a mistake. A mistake is unintentional. What she did was misconduct – an intentional act. Until this distinction is made, there is no way to teach ethical decision making.

    Unfortunately Ms. Symons did not say how she got started on the “slippery slope.” Was she in personal financial difficulty and took the money as a “loan” she intended to pay back? Was it money she took believing it was owed to her for something she did and never compensated? Her rationale is useful to help others not take this path.

    If Ms. Symons really wants to return honor to her name, not only does she need to pay back all the money and face criminal sanctions, she needs to self impose additional actions on herself, such as talking with young people about her ethical failure and volunteering in the community where no handling of money is required. The community will see her additional, non-court required actions, which will go much farther than a apology, showing she is truly serious about taking responsibility for her actions.

    • Gary Clement February 12, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

      ADW- You forgot the pound of flesh.

      • ADW February 14, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

        I base my comments on what I would do had I chose to steal from those who trusted me, got caught and then had to make it right. My mother said, “Actions speak louder than words.” An apology is a starting point.

        • ADW February 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

          It would be easier to forgive had she been overcome with guilt and came forward on her own volition to report the theft BEFORE it was discovered. Her apology would be more meaningful had she simply admitted what she did was wrong and is willing to face the consequences. By calling it a “mistake,” she was only trying to minimize the severity of her actions.

          At least a street thug will look you in the eye when he steals from you.

  6. Eileen February 11, 2016 at 9:01 am #

    I appreciate that she didn’t try to make excuses. She made a bad mistake (who hasn’t?) and owned up to it. She can move on, Jeremy, right there where she lives. No need to move away.

    • Rick OB February 12, 2016 at 12:15 am #

      All of you forgivers, saying she made a (singular) bad mistake are fooling yourselves…the theft was spread out over a YEAR, probably at least a dozen times, so this would equate to making a DOZEN mistakes, probably more . The previous articles stated she took the money from ATM’s, correct ? Where I’m from, you can’t withdraw more than 500.00 at a time daily. So how many trips to the bank machine did she have to make to steal the amount of money she’s admitted to ? Do the math, you forgiving souls.

      • Lorijellybean February 13, 2016 at 9:08 am #

        Rick OB “Forgiveness” isn’t an emotion one feels. It’s an agreement one makes with their own self.
        I personally “forgive” any and all who ask, simply because I would like to live in peace with everyone, and myself especially.
        If I carry around bitterness for someone I don’t even know, it only hurts me. And I’m not a person who enjoys drama or negativity. So I chose to forgive. I may not forget, but I will agree to forgive.

        • Nationalist February 15, 2016 at 7:42 am #

          Barrack Hussain Obama’s last year in office.

          And the word of the day is “Forgiveness” .

          I don’t think so.

          How About “REVENGE” .

          : )

          • Lorijellybean February 16, 2016 at 8:02 am #

            @ Nationalist what is that supposed to mean? We’re all discussing a local’s apology letter, and you’re way off topic here.
            Are you making loose “threats” to people?
            Nationalist, the best “revenge” is doing better.

          • Low-Inyo February 17, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

            Nationalist….you and your kind better hope to throw up something a lot better than a Trump,Cruz or Rubio in the coming November election,or you’ll be wishing President Obama was still in office come 2017…but maybe not….that way,giving you all something to bitch about for ANOTHER 4 or 8 years and something to be angry about..the ole saying…..the chickens have come home to roost…..enjoy.

  7. Lorijellybean February 11, 2016 at 8:18 am #

    That took a lot of courage to admit your wrong-doing, and to apologize publicly. It was the right thing to do.
    And I’ll accept your apology. I forgive you for everything. I hope your consequences for what you have done help you to grow as a person, and my family will pray for you. My hope is you use the time to enrich yourself.
    I’ll pray for your family, as I’m sure this has been real hard for them as well.


  8. Verne Disney February 11, 2016 at 7:30 am #

    Hang in there Sally, like others have said…………we’ve all made mistakes

  9. NO H20 February 10, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    When will she be writing the reimbursement check?

  10. Rick OB February 10, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

    Sorry…? Sorry she got caught. This was not a one time mistake. She took the $$$ over a period of a year. That to me, says she was driven by nothing but greed.
    And we all deserve to see her doing the perp walk (in chains and orange stripes) when she is sentenced. When you finally land your “DREAM JOB” you don’t crap all over it !

  11. Low-Inyo February 10, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

    accepted….nice to see someone own-up to a mistake this day and age…when I dealt with Ms. Symons when I was running a booth at the fair she was always very nice with us….

  12. Tinner February 10, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

    Apology accepted.

  13. CCash February 10, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

    We all make mistakes, I know I have, you owned it, blamed no one but yourself, took responsibility, have and will, grow from it, rock on my friend.

    Rest assured, my friendship and support has never wavered. No worries ??

  14. Trouble February 10, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    Im glad she wrote this letter. I have much more respect and forgiveness for her now.I wish her and her family the best.

  15. Jeremy February 10, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    Nice note, but it’s best if you leave the area. You have done far too much damage for anyone to trust you or even consider hiring you for any other job. Please, for the best of the community, the fairgrounds, and our children, move on. Thank you.

    • Low-Inyo February 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

      Jeramy….no right to tell anyone to move on and leave an area…

      • Paco February 16, 2016 at 9:32 am #

        Jeremy has a right to say anything he wants. He stated his opinion. You may disagree. You have no right telling him not to speak his mind.

        • Low-Inyo February 16, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

          Paco……maybe so,,,,kinda like he’s got the “right” to say someone should move and leave the area ?……if that is someone’s “opinion”,maybe best to keep it to themselves,…stupid thing for anyone to say or be trying to tell someone to do…

    • JoHo February 11, 2016 at 10:32 am #

      I think when someone gets caught doing something like this, it is almost never the first time they have done it, just the first time they have been caught. Maybe it was the first, probably not.


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