Lawsuit, Including $500K-plus Embezzlement Accusation, Explicates Blough Departure

(October 22)  Details relating to abrupt parting of the ways between the San Bernardino Public Employees Association and its general manager, Bob Blough in the summer of 2013, a development shrouded in some degree of mystery, have emerged with the association’s filing of a lawsuit against Blough on October 17.
According to San Bernardino Public Employees Association President Ron Dunn, during Blough’s tenure as general manager “money” was “unaccounted for and misappropriated by Mr. Blough,” action which Dunn said “cannot go ignored.”
The complaint against Blough, filed on behalf of the San Bernardino Public Employees Association (SBPEA) by attorneys Dennis Hayes and Michelle Hribar of the San Diego-based law firm of  Hayes & Cunningham, states “In 2013 SBPEA hired new auditors Ahern Adcock Devlin LLP. In June 2013, during its audit of SBPEA, Ahern Adcock Devlin discovered that there was a large disparity in the amount of SBPEA’s recorded cash receipts and the amount of deposits made to SBPEA’s bank account at Security Bank of California  The amount of SBPEA’s recorded cash receipts appeared to far exceed the amount of cash deposits that had been made.”
The lawsuit continues, “Ahern Adcock Devlin asked Blough to provide the keys to SBPEA’s safe, where presumably cash making up the difference between SBPEA’s cash receipts and cash deposits would be located. Blough reluctantly provided Ahern Adcock Devlin with the key to SBPEA’s safe. Upon review of the cash in SBPEA’s safe, Ahern Adcock Devlin found only approximately $40,000 in cash, which was far less than the amount of cash received by SBPEA that was not deposited in SBPEA’s bank account. SBPEA immediately placed Blough on administrative leave without pay and shortly thereafter, terminated Bough’s employment. SBPEA also terminated from employment Blough’s assistant, Jeannie Marquez.”
The association undertook a more extensive investigation of the matter after Blough had departed, according to the lawsuit.
“SBPEA then hired Ahern Adcock Devlin to perform an audit of SBPEA’s records for the time period from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013, in order to assist SBPEA with its investigation of Blough and Marquez,” the lawsuit states. “On October 1, 2014, Devlin provided the final results of its audit to SBPEA.  Ahern Adcock Devlin’s audit revealed that between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013, a total of $595,444.82 in cash received by SBPEA was missing because it was never deposited into SBPEA’s bank account and was not in SBPEA’s safe. SBPEA is informed and believes and based thereon alleges that Blough misappropriated, converted, and embezzled cash in the amount of $595,444.82 from SBPEA.”
In addition, according to the lawsuit, there were other financial irregularities that occurred during Blough’s tenure as general manager.
“Ahern Adcock Devlin’s audit also revealed that during the time frame of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013, there were numerous charges on SBPEA’s credit cards, including those held in Blough’s name, which appeared to be personal-in-nature,” the suit states. “The purchases appearing to be personal-in-nature amount to $108,345.14. SBPEA is informed and believes and based thereon alleges that in addition to the $595,444.82 in cash, Blough also misappropriated, converted, and embezzled $109,345.14 of SBPEA’s funds by using SBPEA’s credit cards in order to pay for his own personal expenses.”
According to the suit, there were other questionable credit card expenses by Blough for storage units, tools, paper, grills and other supplies, which had no supporting documentation available.
According to the suit, “Blough intentionally concealed his misappropriation, conversion and embezzlement of funds from SBPEA’s executive committee and members. SBPEA is informed and believes and based thereon alleges that Blough falsified and altered SBPEA’s records in order to conceal his misappropriation, conversion, and embezzlement of funds from the SBPEA executive committee and members.”
Efforts to locate Blough for comment were unsuccessful.
The San Bernardino Public Employees Association represents and handles collective bargaining for over 11,000 employees working for San Bernardino County and 3,000 others working for 16 of the county’s cities – Barstow, Big Bear, Chino, Chino Hills, Colton Fontana, Hesperia, Loma Linda, Montclair, Needles, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, and Upland, as well as three cities in east Los Angeles County, Claremont, Pomona and West Covina, and Banning in Riverside County.

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