A staff accountant with Centro San Antonio, the public-private partnership that helps oversee downtown, is being investigated for embezzling $175,000 in a bizarre scheme that includes allegedly fabricating an audit to cover the staffer’s tracks, sources have told the San Antonio Express-News.
Meanwhile, the Centro board of directors is scheduled to meet early Tuesday afternoon to accept the resignation of longtime CEO Pat DiGiovanni, who has not been implicated in any illegal activity. A source with knowledge of the matter indicated the resignation is due to laxoversight of the organization.The identity of the staffer has not been revealed. A spokesman for the San Antonio Police Department confirmed they are investigating the
case but have made no arrests. DiGiovanni could not be reached for comment. DiGiovanni could not be reached for comment.
Centro board Chairman Don Frost said in a yet-to-be-issued press release that Centro directors feel strongly that DiGiovanni’s decision was the right one.
“I want to stress that Pat had absolutely nothing to do with the financial indiscretions, and we appreciate his solid contributions to the organization over the past five years,” Frost said in the document obtained by the newspaper. The document lays out what board members have learned about the alleged criminal activity.
The unidentified staff accountant “admitted to faking the audits and was terminated immediately,” after Centro officials learned from its auditing firm that it had nothing to do with a 2015-16 audit it had appeared to conduct.
“Once it was determined by the forensics accounting investigation that as much as $175,000 had been embezzled over a 2-year period, law enforcement was notified and a criminal investigation was launched,” the document states. “It appears no other staff was involved in the criminal activity. It also appears the stolen monies were isolated to the Centro San Antonio organization, and not the Public Improvement District (PID), but that is subject to the completion of the financial investigation.”
In August, the City Council’s Audit Committee reviewed an audit that identified shoddy bookkeeping at Centro. Officials told Councilman John Courage, chairman of the committee, that despite the issues with internal accounting, money was neither missing nor misappropriated.
It’s unclear whether that audit is related to the alleged criminal activity that has been uncovered in the ongoing criminal investigation.