EL Rincon PTA Investigation Still Under Wraps

In the investigation of financial problems at the El Rincon PTA, the parents, the principal and the police all have questions, but no answers.

Culver City Police Spokesman Lt. Ron Izuka offered only that “There is an investigation currently underway, and as such, we are not able to comment.”

Culver City Council PTA President Leslie Gardner was candid about the way that the situation came to light. “The  Council PTA was asked by the El Rincon PTA for help with budgeting for this year, and  in the process, some discrepancies were noted. So, from January of last year we went over the books and there were problems.”

The Council then notified the 33rd District PTA, who notified both the PTA insurance agency and the Culver City Police.

El Rincon Principal Reginald Brunson has made the situation known to the school community. The regularly scheduled meeting of the PTA last Wednesday Nov. 9 lasted more than three hours. The amount of funds missing is still unknown as the investigation continues.

El Rincon parent and PTA member Emily Hallowell offered “I have been a PTA president at another school …and I  feel that the El Rincon community is going to desperately need help.  [It does seem that] money appears to have been stolen by an individual who had access to the account.”

Hallowell added with urgency “I am hoping to get the word out to neighbors and parents who have donated to El Rincon that the current PTA board and new Principal are highly competent and trustworthy.  El Rincon donors and supporter should feel assured and safe donating and supporting the school. It is a tragic devastating loss of money and spirit to a school that really needs both right now.”

Gardner noticed “Last year’s board were all new volunteers. No one on that board had ever volunteered for the PTA before. If someone were going to mismanage or embezzle funds, this was the perfect opportunity.”

Ting Internet is in Culver City!

3 Comments

  1. I don’t think the reasoning that the board were all new volunteers is any justification for embezzelment. I think it was a opportunity crime. Anyone handling money should provide a copy of their current credit report and a personal bond for the entire bank balance. If it happened here, it probably happened before. Just my thoughts.

  2. I am a Parent at El Rincon. Ms. Noda had the opportunity to come to the PTA meetings. The dates and time for the general meeting, where this was first discussed publically, had been scheduled for months. Perhaps she felt extremely uncomfortable to put herself in that setting having been implicated in this. I went to that first meeting having only heard rumors and my first public comment at that meeting was in defense of Ms. Noda. I felt that people were jumping to conclusions. I like Ms. Noda and respected the work she did for the school. I (and others) could not believe this was something she could do. No doubt the first meeting was heated. People were angry and confused and expressed those emotions to the Auditors who showed up to try to explain what had happened – they took heat – there were tears but in the end people calmed down and had an adult dialogue about the situation and how to move ahead. Having seen the paperwork presented that night, having the understanding that one person collected all cash for the yearbook (Ms. Noda) and the yearbook company did not get paid, that we have a balance of zero, along with unpaid bills to vendors from last year – I can only conclude that that Ms. Noda had a hand in this. There will be no evidence of cash missing. No one was working with Ms. Noda to account for how much came in and what ended up in the bank. It was Ms. Noda, who alone, was in charge of making cash deposits to the bank – again – the balance is at zero. To speak about the current school year and suggest that this situation started in October is false. To implicate our New Principal who is the first principal El Rincon has had in a long time that has given this community some hope – is destructive. I love El Rincon – and this is a horribly sad situation for the school and all of the volunteers who collected money on behalf of the students. I am sorry that Ms. Noda’s life has been turned up side down by this investigation – I imagine it is beyond painful. But at a certain point you have to look at who was in charge of the money and the money is all gone. Absolutely a crime of opportunity and one that so many PTA treasurers across the country have gotten caught up in. I deeply hope that IF Ms. Noda is guilty – that she will come forward and know that while many people are angry – many more will respect the move to take responsibility. Many people understand what it is to feel desperate – and maybe this was the case for a moment with Ms. Noda. In fact I am offering to accompany, sit next to, and support anyone who comes forward and takes responsibility for the missing PTA funds.

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