Former Olympia Tumwater Foundation leader faces charges

Olympia Tumwater Foundation: Jacalyn Tobosa, daughter took almost $100,000, detective alleges

jpawloski@theolympian.comSeptember 2, 2012 

A former executive director of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation and her daughter have been accused of stealing nearly $100,000 from the local nonprofit, which annually provides scholarships to local students, and manages Tumwater Falls Park and the Schmidt House.

Former foundation executive director Jacalyn Tobosa, 57, is charged with 35 felonies – including 26 counts of second-degree theft, seven counts of forgery and two counts of first-degree theft. Her alleged thefts from the foundation date back to January 2010, court papers state.

During an interview with Tumwater police, Tobosa “admitted she had stolen approximately $20,000 from the foundation during the time she was executive director there,” court papers state.

Tobosa’s daughter, Kimberly Spada, 40, is charged with a single count of first-degree theft for allegedly taking more than $5,000 from the foundation between June 2010 and May 2011, court papers state. Tobosa hired Spada to d0 bookkeeping for the foundation in February 2011 despite that in 2002, Spada was convicted in Thurston County of eight counts of theft “based on having embezzled funds while she was working at Hanson Motors in Olympia.”

The total reported loss to the Olympia Tumwater Foundation attributed to Tobosa and Spada is about $94,000, Tumwater Police Detective Jen Kolb said Friday.

However, Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Powers said that not all of the reported losses have been included in charging documents, because his office charged only those losses that it believed could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tobosa and Spada are scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 11 in Thurston County Superior Court.

Tobosa did not return phone calls asking for comment Friday. A phone number for Spada could not be located.

Spada still owes Hanson Motors and Hanson’s insurer $317,000, including interest, in court-ordered restitution after her conviction for embezzling from the auto dealership from 2000 to 2002, court papers state. The total amount that Spada embezzled from Hanson Motors was $140,000, court papers state.

Current Olympia Tumwater Foundation Executive Director John Freedman issued a written statement to The Olympian on Friday. He declined to comment or answer questions beyond what was in the statement.

The statement confirmed the allegations against Tobosa and Spada. “The financial irregularities occurred over a three-year period and were limited to the general operating fund of the foundation,” reads the statement. “There was no impact on the level of charitable work performed by the foundation. Donations, including those to Tumwater Falls Park, the Schmidt house, and the education program, were not affected.”

The Olympia Tumwater Foundation’s insurer was able to cover most of the money lost, according to the statement.

“The Olympia Tumwater Foundation is committed to the highest standards of integrity and continues to review and enhance its internal controls and procedures to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, reliability of financial reporting, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations,” reads the statement.

According to court papers:

Freedman, who was hired as an administrator for the Olympia Tumwater Foundation in 2008, discovered that many of the checks issued by Tobosa to her son’s landscaping company, Olympia Landscaping, were not supported by invoices in the foundation’s financial records. Tobosa hired Olympia Landscaping to assist in maintaining Tumwater Falls Park.

During a subsequent audit in 2011, Freedman “concluded that Tobosa was responsible for widespread embezzlement of foundation funds.” In June, 2011, Tobosa was terminated from her position as executive director for the foundation, and the Tumwater Police Department began a criminal investigation.

The foundation’s board had hired Tobosa in fall 2007.

Court papers say the board believes Tobosa embezzled funds in the following ways:

 • She issued checks on the foundation’s bank account to Olympia Landscaping for work that was not performed.

 • She issued checks on the foundation’s bank account to herself without authorization.

 • She issued checks on the foundation’s investment account with Charles Schwab to Olympia Landscaping without any basis for such payments.

 • She used the foundation’s debit card to pay personal expenses and those of her son, Chase Groppi.

 • She forged the signature of several foundation board members on some checks made out for especially large amounts to avoid suspicion arising from such large payments being made without a second signature.

 • She falsified foundation records to hide her thefts.

The Olympia Tumwater Foundation was created in 1950 by the Schmidt family, owners of the Olympia Brewery. It is a public charity that uses its facilities and lands, including Tumwater Falls Park, to promote education. Its mission statement is: “To offer educational opportunities, a historic home and a community park to honor our history and celebrate our future.” 360-754-5445

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