Nonprofit: Consultant admits to embezzling

A nonprofit organization operating an underground parking garage in Golden Gate Park has fired a key financial consultant who confessedto embezzling $3.5 million in private donations, according to a spokesman for the nonprofit.

Greg Colley, chief financial officer for the Music Concourse Community Partnership, or MCCP, reportedly confessed to taking the funds and using them to make stock trades, according to Sam Singer, a spokesman retained by MCCP.

Colley, who was working as a contractor for the partnership, has been dismissed from his job and is already beginning to pay back the money, Singer said.

Colley could not be reached for comment; attorney Julia Jayne confirmed that Colley has retained her services, but she could not be reached for further comment Tuesday.

MCCP member Richard Bingham sent a letter to donors on Feb. 29, informing them that funds had been embezzled by a “trusted and long-serving employee.”

“When we discovered what happened, we immediately hired counsel and a forensic accountant to unravel the extent of the crime,” wrote Bingham, who did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

The partnership first learned there were money problems when a construction company called to ask why they hadn’t received a payment, according to Singer.

Internal investigations revealed roughly $3.5 million missing from a fund designated for cost overruns associated with construction of the $55 million garage, which opened in 2005 under the concourse between the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Sciences.

The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office is conducting an independent investigation into the embezzlement charges, according to

spokeswoman Alexis Thompson.

It remains to be seen whether criminal charges could be filed against Colley or the partnership. Ericka Deryk, a spokeswoman in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, said she could not comment on whether her office was investigating the situation.

San Francisco entered a lease agreement with the partnership in 2003, allowing the nonprofit to go forward with building the 800-space garage. The underground structure was funded by private donations.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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