Convicted Penn Valley Chamber chief starts anew in Nevada
After two past felony theft convictions in Nevada County, the chief executive officer for a Carson City nonprofit housing organization said Thursday that his criminal past is behind him, and he’s restoring his life in Nevada.
Ronald Trunk, 60, was convicted of two charges of grand theft in October 2003. He pleaded no contest. One charge stemmed from a business deal Trunk made with a Lake Wildwood couple who invested their nest egg in his business. That business went bankrupt. They waited three years to get their money back.
The second charge concerned discrepancies in Trunk’s administration of the Penn Valley Chamber of Commerce from May 2000 to May 2001.
Trunk was hired in June 2002 to head Carson City’s Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc., which supervises and instructs lower-income Nevadans in building their own homes. The organization is funded through government grants, loans and private contributions.
It’s a well-respected Carson City organization that Trunk resurrected, said Carson City Treasurer Al Kramer, who is chairman of CAHI’s board of directors.
Trunk said he made mistakes while working in Penn Valley, and it cost him his house and his life there. Trunk admitted his mistakes, but also shifted some of the blame to others. He blamed bad blood, back-stabbing and small-town mentality.
“I’ve never been a bad person. I was in a bad situation,” he said. “If Taylor would’ve waited six months this never would’ve happened.”
Lucille and James Taylor, the Lake Wildwood couple, loaned Trunk $50,000 in 1999 in an effort to save his business, which involved building executive office suites.
When Trunk’s company failed, he didn’t list the Taylors as debtors in a bankruptcy procedure. Kramer said that was Trunk’s big mistake. If he would’ve done that, then a lot of effort would have been saved.
Trunk said he wanted to pay the Taylors the full $50,000. Before he did, the Taylors filed a civil suit and won. Then the district attorney brought criminal charges against him. It wasn’t until 2003 that Trunk was able to come up with the money to repay the Taylors.
Trunk said he reimbursed the Lake Wildwood couple their $50,000 investment and another $25,000 in interest before his criminal sentencing. In February 2004 his sentence was reduced from 180 days in jail to eight months of home monitoring, which he did in Nevada.
His first criminal charge concerned forging the names of chamber directors on checks. Trunk said he forged the names in order to pay the chamber’s bills, with members’ permission.
In court, and in police reports, several chamber board members said they did not remember giving permission.
Trunk was ordered by a Nevada County Superior Court judge to reimburse the chamber of commerce $2,250, which he is still in the process of paying off.
“On Aug. 9 I can go in and have it (the two charges) reduced to a misdemeanor because I met all of the terms and conditions as set forth by the court,” Trunk said.
Since being hired here, Trunk has led CAHI from four full-time employees to a staff of 19. Trunk has also expanded the program to Southern Nevada and onto American Indian reservations.
Kramer said the chief executive officer has no fiduciary duties. The one time he was offered check-writing authority, Trunk declined it, according to Kramer.
Kramer said he didn’t think the organization was in any danger. He wanted to preserve Trunk’s privacy, so he didn’t tell the board of directors.
“He made a mistake,” Kramer said. “It was not malicious. Once you pay the price, it should leave you free.”
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