Someone up the corporate chain embezzled related to my work, and I am verklempt

whatever the hell that means…

One of our hospital’s corporate directors has just “resigned”. She is two levels directly above me, in other words my boss’s boss. That puts her fairly high up – in a staff of 3500, there’s about 40 at her level and only a dozen or so veeps and the CEO higher on the chart. By those of us below her it was universally understood she was a terrible manager and had some real psychological issues (to put it VERY kindly). But now we’ve learned she was also a thief, and I wonder how much of the first two items were real and how much they were a cover for her thievery.

We don’t know yet exactly how much she took, or all the means, or for how long she stole, and we may never know, but I’ll get back to that later. But one method we were told about directly involves me personally. I’m a media technician and I work on just about every corporate public event setting up sound or video or both. Before they hired me 3 years ago, they brought in a “consultant” technician, for those kind of events. By and large they used… her husband, who thay paid $150/hour to set them up. I worked with the guy on a couple of events on my first few months on the job, and he is actually a quite competent, capable guy. There’s no question he can actually perform the work he was hired for. Nevertheless, it became clear very quickly afyer I was hired that I could handle their technical needs. Even in the early gigs where they brought him in, he had nothing to do.

Actually, I wrote a thread about it two years ago. Someone suggested even in that thread there might be embezzlement involved. Two years ago I was saying we had no need to bring him in for events, and in all the intervening time we’ve never called him back. But it turns out we’ve been paying him (or her, it’s unclear) as if he’s been working all these events at $150/hour. She’s been authorizing payments to her husband for every major hospital event, ever since I started, actually even before I started, and the payments never stopped though the work did.

As I said before, we don’t know the dimensions of her crime and we may never, because the company is going to let her walk. I’m not sure why – embarassment is certainly a factor, and I don’t think a lot of our acounting practices can stand public scrutiny. She could get away with shit like this because she wouldn’t let her managers control their own budgets. You couln’t just put in a PO to make a major purchase, you had to tell her what you wanted, and something kind of similar might or might not show up some day. And she controlled the expenditures of 6 departments, and at the end of the year in the final accounting reports we could see that she routinely spent one department’s money for another department’s equipment, and no one ever came down on her for completely ignoring standard financial practices. We all knew she operated this way LONG before it was understood she was stealing. We thought she was a control freak and somewhat paranoid, with a dash of ADD. In retrospect, we SHOULD have thought theft, because that’s the kind of stuff thieves do to cover for themselves.

I am really pissed that they’ve decided not to conest her leaving, and don’t call the cops. But I have mixed feelings, as her paper trail indirectly points to my incompetence as the justification for the continued necessary services of her consultant husband, and I suspect that I would be a witness in any criminal trial, which would not be a happy thing.

Still, a few years ago the hospital found a low level secretary embezzling a few grand, called in the law, and announced in a company-wide email that as an ethics-based institution we were obliged to pursue the wrong doer with every legal means. And most people here buy into that – I think I was the only one in the department NOT shocked that she is walking away free and clear.

Frankly if news of this disproportionate treatment gets out, and I can’t imagine it won’t, it will do more damage to the institution than the theft would. People LOVE to work here. I LOVE to work here, about 90% of the time. But I have been getting the sense that we, unfortunately like much of America, are buying appearance over substance. That is a very depressing thing, and if there is one place it must be resisted it’s in the medical industry.

Anyway, I am one discombobulated guy tonight.

Whatever the hell that means.

Talk amongst youselves.

Here’s a subject.

The Holy Roman Empire wasn’t holy, wasn’t Roman and wasn’t an empire.


Boyo Jim,
It is quite possible that your director either a.) knows where a lot of skeletons are buried (maybe literally :eek: ) or b.) isn’t being pursued because it would trip up her boss’s own corruption/embezzling. I am quite sure that risk of embarrassment is not the real reason she isn’t being prosecuted.

Just my 2¢.


Sure a handfull are getting busted.

Tell that to the thousands who lost everything they had.

Boyo Jim --you are on a sinking ship, nice place to work or not.

Therefore, be a cunning little rodentia , & circulate your resume posthaste.

Your skin is worthwhile–save it!

I lived in Madison for quite a while & find it hard to imagine that among your co-workers there won’t be at least one person who goes to the media with this. Too much activisim in that town. What gets me is the hypocrisy of reaming out a secretary, while letting a director walk.

From what you described, it seems unlikely that your job performance would be considered a factor. As you indicated, she probably had more than one scheme working.

OTOH, she might get away with it. When I worked for a soda company, known for teaching the world to sing, there was a tale of an employee who was caught red-handed having stole somelthing like $50k. And they forgave it & kept him on. So he stole another $50k. Then they fired him. Not sure who/what he knew to make that possible.

During college summer break, I worked for a large insurance company. A VP was found to have been embezzling; there was also a cash “slush fund” (people who make insurance payments in cash) that he was stealing from.

He resigned and that was it. The company wanted no bad publicity, particularly since it could being in government regulators. So crime does pay; just make sure who you are stealing from can’t admit it.

A company I and our fellow Doper jackalope worked for got into a bit of finacial trouble during the dot-com bust. It was a typical story–the company had a good core product but the prez and some officers started reading Wired and decided to throw a whole bunch of good money into a poorly-defined internet project that, in time, ate up all of the company’s resources. Eventually, they turned to a venture capital company for rescue. The CEO of the venture capital firm called a company-wide meeting and assured everyone that they would save the company and everyone’s jobs. Three months later, half the company (including yours truly–jackalope had the good sense to find another job when the warning lights started blinking) was shown the door. Less than nine months later, the company was gone, along with everyone’s 401K money and the remaining staff’s last two weeks of pay. Today, the CEO, CFO, and COO of the venture capital firm are in jail for so many crimes related to fraud and embezzlement, I don’t even know where to start. No one ever got their 401K money, either.

The moral? Don’t be like vibrotronica, Boyo Jim, be like jackalope.

Embezzlement happens all the time. Letting someone go for cause without prosecuting them happens all the time. And now your manager will look for a new job and the new company will know nothing about why she was terminated because HR won’t allow anything negative to be said for fear of a lawsuit. It’s a marvelous system we have set up.


Mr. Jim? This is cards down in internal audit and we’ve been going over your expense reports for the last year and we have a couple of questions. Specifically, items that come to our attention are receipts for some sort of products related to a “straight dope”? More specifically, a “membership”, T-shirts and coffee mugs.

Now Mr. Jim, we know you might have worked on some kind of drug outreach program, but our records show no evidence of any theme or how any “straight dope” purchases could be related to our business. Could you come down to the accounting offices? To make sure you don’t lose your way, we’ve dispatched two security guards to your office. The inqui…uh…polygr…uh…review of your expenses will probably take the rest of the day, so please plan accordingly.

If the hospital isn’t following standard accounting procedures (and in our day and age of Enron, Arthur Andersen, etc., and the resulting Sarbanes-Oxley, they pretty much gotta), I think your Internal Revenue Service would be more than willing to give them a thorough rogering…I mean…audit. It really isn’t up to the company whether they want to disclose their accounting practices or not anymore.

In other words, get the heck out of there. The writing’s on the wall, and somebody who can do something is bound to notice.

Hmmm Boyo Jim, interesting story.

I happen to know several people in the Madison media who would looove to get a lead on something like this, especially with the whole “low level employee gets hammered while big shot walks” angle.

Any thoughts of going the “anonymous tipster” route?

Dust off your resume.

Aren’t there external audits that are required? Our company goes through two audits a year, where the CPA’s commandeer one of our conference rooms for about a month, but our records are squeaky clean.

We just like to be able to prove they’re squeaky clean.

Something smells here, me foine Boyo. If you’re not willing to turn them over to the state Whatever authority or the IRS, get the hell out of Dodge. You can’t just shove the offender out the door and think that’s the end of it.

*:: admitting I just opened a thread to see what ‘verklempt’ meant:: *

All the best wishes for you anyway, Boyo Jim


Apparently, you can be extremely happy and also described as verklempt.

heh, Thank you ivylass. I love the word. :slight_smile:

boyo , what happened with this?

I know that I am excessively naive when it comes to the machinations of the business world, but I really don’t see that Boyo Jim’s job or competence are in question here. He didn’t sign off on anything that listed the husband as having put in any hours, did he? His department and job isn’t going to disappear like a failed business because of one greedy person falsifying documents. While he feels a bit hurt that somewhere on paper she implied that it took two people to do his job, no one was walking around saying “Boyo Jim can’t cut it and we have to bring in this outside contractor” I’m not sure he needs to leave this job right away quick.

The embezz;er is gone, but walking away free and clear from any legal consequences. My job is in no danger. It’s more like a seven-year itch in a marriage, only it’s happening in 3. In many ways this is the best job I’ve ever had, but the small bad things are starting to weight heavily, and I am thinking of moving on.

One is that my responsibilities have vastly increased, but my pay hasn’t. I am the only non-IS person in the hospital to administer a company-wide computer system, and I manage two of them. I was hired to provide technical support for meetings and events held by our department, but now I’m called in on every single public event the hospital puts on – to help plan them and to manage the technical aspects of them. The CEO calls me when he needs help preparing presentations. Just about everybody in the hospital knows me because I control the hospital’s meeting spaces and I end up personally interecting with just about every manager and physician in the joint. And they tell me stories about how terrible things were before I was hired, and they tell me how much confidence they have that I can make anything work. While it is a wonderful thing for my ego, there are a few other people doing comparable work who make 20-30% more than I do – mostly because they have technical degrees of one kind or another, and I have a liberal arts degree.

And I’ve started several threads about a cow-orker who is the department albatross, a woman I have to work with every day who is BY FAR the worst employee I have ever encountered, and my boss is just too kind-hearted to fire her. Every single person in the department (12 of them) has personally gone to the boss and asked for her to be dismissed, but the boss tries to act like all we need to do is put stricter policies and procedures in place, and things will get better. But the result is that the rest of us feel punished by stricter work rules, why the Evil One coasts along, behavior unchanged. And I end up doing most of her job when I don’t even have enough time to do mine. I put in nearly 300 hours of overtime in 2004.

And I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s time to move on, but there’s really no career path open to me here. I’m kind of a technically-oriented generalist, and I don’t have personnel management experience, so finding another good fit for a job seems kind of a long shot.

Hence I remain verklempt.


Just FYI, if you’re interested – verklempt the Yiddish word comes from the German verklemmt “seized” from the German verklemmen “to seize”. I’m not sure if it has the same connotation of emotional state in German, or if it just literally means “to grab.” Do you have any words that seem to be related in Dutch?