Warrant out on ex-chamber boss
A warrant was issued Monday for the arrest of former Penn Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Ronald Trunk for failure to appear at a felony arraignment in Nevada County Superior Court.
Trunk said Tuesday that he wasn’t aware of the charges filed against him, or of his missed court date.
“I received no notice of the arraignment from the District Attorney’s Office, so I don’t how to respond until I know what it’s all about,” he said.
Charges filed against Trunk by the District Attorney’s Office include two felony counts.
The first count stems from an allegedly fraudulent business deal Trunk made with Lake Wildwood couple James and Lucille Taylor in 1999.
The second count alleges embezzlement and forgery and involves discrepancies in the administration of the chamber under Trunk’s direction between May 2000 and May 2001.
Reports prepared by the chamber’s board of directors indicate evidence of “unauthorized activities, forgeries and possible theft,” according to a Sheriff’s Office report.
Chamber board member and treasurer Charlie Ewing told sheriff’s investigators he didn’t sign or give Trunk permission to sign his name to checks he believed were forged by Trunk.
All checks written by the chamber require two signatures of current board members.
Sheriff’s investigators are also trying to track down four chamber rent checks allegedly forged and misappropriated by Trunk.
For years, according to the sheriff’s report, the chamber paid rent to Trunks’ company, Sierra Foothills Executive Office Suites.
Although Trunk lost ownership of the building through bankruptcy in 1999, he informed the chamber’s board of directors that he was acting as property manager for the owners of the building, according to the sheriff’s report.
Before being evicted in 2001, the chamber’s board was informed by the building’s owners that rent had not been paid since February 2000, even though the chamber’s records showed that rent was paid through August 2000.
Trunk’s company, investigators found, collected $2,450 for rent between March and August 2000 from the chamber, which was apparently never paid to the rightful building owners.
Of the four checks in question, three were made out to Trunk’s company and one, in the amount of $1,700, was made out directly to Trunk, according to sheriff’s reports.
When asked by investigators where the rent checks went after they were issued to Trunk or his company, Trunk said he kept the checks to pay utility bills. However, the Sheriff’s Office later found that utility bills were not paid by the chamber, but by the building’s owners.
Written documentation clearly indicates that Trunk entered into a business arrangement in 1999 with James and Lucille Taylor under false pretenses, according to sheriff’s reports.
Trunk used property he didn’t own – his then-bankrupt Sierra Foothills Executive Office Suites – to leverage a $50,000 loan from the Taylors.
In a February 2001 civil suit, a U.S Bankruptcy Court judge in Sacramento ruled against Trunk for $50,000 plus $5,000 in punitive damages.
Lucille Taylor said Tuesday that she hasn’t seen a penny from Trunk.
“But we’re glad to see the investigation is moving forward and hope Trunk can be stopped before more damage is done,” she said.
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