|By Anonymous (pool-72-75-164-129.lsanca.dsl-w.verizon.net - 126.96.36.199) on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 2:02 pm: Edit Post|
A police investigation into the nonprofit Clean Tahoe Program and the financial practices of its former program director, Tim Stockton and Ted Long.The investigation has raised questions about South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Ted Long, who was president of the Clean Tahoe board at the time. The Clean Tahoe Program is funded by public money.
Long permitted Stockton to sign Long's name to Clean Tahoe checks, according to the investigation and Long's statements to the Tribune.
"Mr. Long allowed somebody to sign his name. He had no authorization to do that," said South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Bill Crawford.
Mr. Long did not exercise his responsibility in protecting the public's interest. All of the monies in question were monies collected from the ratepayers," Crawford said Thursday.
Grand jury review requested
From August 2005 until his resignation in September 2006. The police report details 11 incidents of possible financial irregularities in 2005 and 2006 that raised concerns among Clean Tahoe board members. Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe said an "insufficient basis" was found to bring criminal charges associated with the investigation. But Uthe asked the county grand jury to take a look at Clean Tahoe's fiscal and management practices.
In a phone interview Friday, Stockton said he initially was hesitant to sign Long's name to checks. But when a signature was needed - for example, with payday coming up - and no one was available to sign the checks, Stockton said he consulted with Long before signing his name.
Long told the Tribune that having Stockton sign his name to checks was not forgery because he authorized it. Long said he didn't give Stockton a blanket authorization to sign checks; rather, each check was considered individually. Long said the issue came up when he was out of town or otherwise not available to personally sign the checks.
"It was never a blanket thing," Long said Thursday. "He always cleared it (with me), as far as I'm aware."
Check-writing policy disputed
When investigators showed Stockton a series of checks with Long's signature on them, he identified 14 on which he had signed Long's name, and four others that he had possibly signed with Long's signature.
When Long was shown a series of Clean Tahoe checks, Long identified 19 that did not have his correct signature on them; six others may not have had the correct signature, according to the report.
Aside from the issue of Long's signature, Phillips said Long and Stockton violated Clean Tahoe's policy, which has always called for two signatures on each check, not just one. The actions of Long and Stockton gave the program a "black eye," Phillips said.
"There were policies and procedures in place, and they weren't being followed," Phillips said.
Phillips, who is the current Clean Tahoe Program board president, described the program's current financial management as "stellar."
Long told the Tribune he was not aware of a two-signature policy.
Stockton said two board members gave permission to the bank to change requirements on Clean Tahoe checks from two signatures to one. Phillips said the board never approved such a change.
Long also allegidly authorised Tim to buy a welder for $2059.00 for a bear box that was NOT authorized by the clean tahoe program and Long said it was ok because he felt Tim was going above and beyond his duty to build a bear box. The problem is that the board said NO to the bear box and Ted Long did it anyway. he also allegidly told Tim to write a check for $450 for a sign for search and rescue, again unauthorised. Then there is an issue of a Truck purchase from Tim to the clean Tahoe program, again unauthorised by the board and Ok'ed allegidly by Ted Long.
Long use to live in the Uk with wife .