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.”
Dirty deeds. You have to watch the accountants.
Now I see why you reacted the way you did when we talked last year. Wow.
I am sickened by the length this man was/is going to to pick more pockets. https://jeanettefritzkytributewalk.com/
Many of us worked hard to save the Rheem Theatre and were it not for this man it might have happened.
Ohoh – that sound you heard are 1200 people in Moraga saying O Shit at the same time.
If you organize that, I will come.
These guys….. always with the Catholic College degree and the Eagle Scout Leader profile. It’s almost a stereotype for trouble.
Student debt. Duquesne ain’t cheap.
Lets see – $220,000 in restitution pencils out to about 200 license plates a day for 20 years. At least metal work is a skill he can add to his resume.
In God we trust. All others are under intense scrutiny.
People have some splaining to do. This is a huge scam that took a lot of money from a lot of local people.
“Forget it JD – it’s Moraga…” Remember our country club lunch?
We do, yes. We’ve learned to give in to our instincts.
thank goodness suckers are born every minute — otherwise the con men would have nothing to live on.
The board of the MCF should shut it down untitl they put some basic governing safeguards in place. The stewardship of this board is embarrassing. Fritzky’s house has been pre-foreclosure for several years(I get updates from Zillow available to anybody) and an inexpensive background check would have turned up his 2010 bankruptcy. Layer on the weak controls and lack of transparency with the bank accounts and you cant help but conclude this is sloppy governance. Anybody that has served on the board of a well run non-profit will understand what I am talking about. Ive given money in the past for the police cameras and I’m out as a donor to MCF.
They owe such a huge apology to the community and yes they should definitely be shut down. The MCF was formed to Save and purchase the Rheem Theatre which may have happened had there been any sort of accountability.
As an acquaintance of Bob Fritzky’s I’m shocked and appalled by his actions! But, I’m also shocked that the by-laws of the Moraga Community Foundation) MCN left the decision of whether to obtain an annual audit to the discretion of the audit committee until assets reached 500k. Regardless of the cost, it’s important to verify…always. MCN enabled Bob Fritzky’s actions! A classic case of the fox watching the henhouse.
If MCF wants to have any credibility in our community after this they need to blow it up and start over. New board with some real experience governing non-profits and proactive outreach to the community. Own what you screwed up, be transparent, demonstrate changes you’ve made to fix the problems and slowly rebuild trust. Or they can put their head in the sand, let it die slowly and someone else can start a better version for Moraga.
Another Save the Rheem Theatre Boondoggle…
3 years before anyone checks the actual account balances?
Kind of rips the image of “dedicated public servant and husband” to shreds doesn’t it???
What I am most amused about is that Trotter is now VP/Director of the MCF. The very same foundation that Mayor Trotter personally delivered the Rheem theatre to.
Remember the MOU between Trotter and the theatre owner back in March 2018? In return for selling the theatre to MCF, Mayor Trotter agreed to fast track a rezoning of the empty plot of land adjacent to the theatre. From a useless commercial plot of land to a very valuable mixed use plot of land. I remember the TC meeting that revealed this behind the curtain real estate transaction. Councilwoman Onoda was falling off her chair in praise of Trotter.
Mayor Trotter’s dealings at the time looked incredibly shady. He was using his power and the town’s money to deliver the theatre to his friends and supporters. Now his association with MCF is undeniable. A VP and Director. The irony and shadiness is most amusing to me.
I would like to see Trotter and MCF reimburse the Town of Moraga/citizens of Moraga for every expense associated with the MOU. Shady people + shady dealings eventually come full circle. I don’t feel sorry for MCF.
Why would anyone feel sorry for them? The people who were in a position to prevent this are presenting themselves as the victims. They should be apologizing profusely to the community for the huge cost of their negligence after which they should shut themselves down. Their sham of wanting to save the theatre wasted four years of my spare time. The new President of the Moraga Chamber of Commerce is claiming that the MCF was effective in saving the theatre, which they apparently did by keeping it open long enough for someone to buy it out from under them. Do they really think people invested their time and money for remodeling, etc. are okay with this outcome? This was not the goal or why people donated, and this is not an organization that deserves to be trusted with anyone’s money.
MCF did not save the Rheem Theatre. They were given a gift because of Trotter’s shady dealings and MCF benefited from a misappropriation of town money. Any of the MCF board members that were associated with the MOU and Trotter’s shady dealings should be barred from any future town functions or association that receives town money. Mayor Trotter used his power and the town’s money and brokered a real estate transaction behind closed doors that allowed MCF to have a chance of getting the Rheem Theatre. No other town council member was involved in the process except for Cheerleader Onoda.
i would like to see the current town council review the March 2018 MOU and seek reimbursement from MCF and Trotter.
don’t forget the Hacienda … Trotter wanted to move in LaFinestra to the building. It cost the town bucco dollars in legal fees in pursuing Trotters attempt. Jeanette Fritzky I believed boycotted some of the voting.
This may one of those “I led two lives” deals. No way he, and others perhaps, were going escape discovery. During his wife’s (she was a good friend of mine) death march, he borrow some $ from me for “expenses”
She was an intelligent, thoughtful, successful, and sophisticated woman, which makes this even stranger. Did she know, I seriously doubt it. So what the hell was he thinking?
It started long before she was sick, so there was no “trauma” instigation. Gambling problem? I hope the Feds look deep and find where he stashed the proceeds.
He looked me straight in the eyes and lied to me with out a flinch. SOCIOPATH?
He will walk
If you want to know how this stuff happens watch HBO’s Bad Education. The only difference between the Fritzky case and the school district scandal is that someone went to prison in the school district fraud.