Rumors of an apparent shakeup among leadership at the Moraga Chamber of Commerce materialized Friday after the chamber confirmed the ouster of Chamber President F. Robert Fritzky – ushered out under the cloud of a looming embezzlement investigation at the Moraga Community Foundation.
Although no specific charges have yet to be filed against Fritzky, search warrants conducted jointly by Moraga Police and the U.S. Treasury Department were executed at Fritzky’s home and office on Friday.
A statement issued by the Moraga Community Foundation Friday said Fritzky is suspected of coordinating the embezzlement of more than $220,000 from the organization dating back to June, 2016.
The release also stated:
“It is with great sadness that we must report that the Moraga Community Foundation (MCF) has been the victim of what, based on evidence developed to date, appears to be a significant embezzlement scheme. This conduct, perpetrated by F. Robert (Bob) Fritzky, has not only violated the trust of the foundation but also those in the community who have donated their time and money to make Moraga a better place to live.”
Fritzky reportedly told a meeting of the MCF board in August that it had more than $140,000 in funds, according to the release. In reality, it’s account currently totals just a little over $9,000.
He was removed from the foundation’s board of directors at a special meeting Sept. 3, the release noted.
The Moraga Community Foundation is a listed non-profit organization which has leant its influence and resources in efforts to salvage the Rheem Theatre as well as other civic-minded, high-profile projects around town in recent years.
Fritzky served as treasurer of the foundation and as its director since it was first organized. He was replaced by member Wendy Scheck when his term expired in July. That, insiders said, is when talk of “irregularities” in the foundation’s bookkeeping first began to surface.
Suspicion heightened when, in the weeks following Scheck’s appointment as treasurer, her routine requests for bank and financial records were “stalled or otherwise ignored” – by Fritzky.
Former Moraga Mayor David Trotter, who joined the foundation in July and became its vice president, told the East Bay Times that Mechanics Bank cooperated with Scheck’s request and that she was finally able to access the foundation’s bank account in late August.
“We were devastated by what we discovered,” Trotter told The Times. “It hurts physically. Wendy (Scheck) and I were appalled by what we found out in the bank account. We immediately contacted (Moraga police) Chief King.”
According to its release, MCF revealed that Fritzky had written 53 checks from the foundation’s bank account totaling more than $220,000, which were then deposited in three other bank accounts under his control.
Fritzky allegedly diverted funds dating back to June of 2016, with Fritzky allegedly depositing checks into his personal checking account as well as to one registered to MedMatRx, a pharmaceutical consulting firm Fritzky operates from an office in Moraga.
Those offices were visited by uniformed police and federal investigators Friday morning, according to surprised neighbors.
Also on Friday, Kathe Nelson, executive director of the Moraga Chamber of Commerce, announced on the chamber web site that Fritzky would be replaced by Vice President Larry Tessler. She also said the chamber’s finances “have not been misappropriated in any manner.”
The alleged diversion of money dates back to June 2016, the foundation said in its release. During that time Fritzky allegedly wrote and deposited checks into his personal checking account and also diverted foundation money to a bank account belonging to MedMatRx, a pharmaceutical consulting firm he runs in Moraga, according to the foundation.
Fritzky also allegedly wrote numerous checks to the Jeanette Fritzky Foundation, a nonprofit charity founded in November 2018 following the death of his wife, former Moraga Town Council member Jeanette Fritzky – who died of lung cancer last September.
A concurrent investigation into a second MCF account, held at a separate bank, is also underway. Again, the group charged that Fritzky funneled sizable amounts of money to his company and personal accounts in excess of $100,000 in 2017.
According to biographical information on the Moraga Chamber of Commerce website, Fritzky graduated from Duquesne University and has made his home in Moraga for 14 years. He is listed as the founder, president and CEO of MedMatRx and MedEngage, coached the Joaquin Miller Intermediate School’s cross-country team and is active in Moraga Boy Scout Troop No. 234 and the Moraga Country Club Membership Committee.
“Bob enjoys building personal and business relationships to the mutual benefit and enjoyment of all parties and believes in the responsible growth of Moraga, supporting local businesses while conserving the natural beauty and resources we enjoy in Moraga,” his chamber bio states. “Bob welcomes the opportunity to utilize his knowledge and skills by focusing his efforts on opportunities to market Moraga outside the local area.”