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Ice arena manager to keep job while he faces charges of theft

August 30, 2005|by Pepper Ballard

HAGERSTOWN

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Former Funkstown Moose Lodge Administrator David Brandenburg, who is charged with embezzling more than $36,000 from the club over five months, will remain arena manager at the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex while the legal battle on his charges ensues, a rink official said Monday.

Brandenburg, when reached at the skating rink Monday, would not comment on the charges filed Friday by the Washington County Sheriff's Department. He referred inquiries to his attorney, Lewis Metzner.

Metzner could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

As arena manager, a position Brandenburg has held for about one year, he said he oversees the basic operations of the rink at 580 Security Road.

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While the ice rink is owned by The City of Hagerstown, the organization that leases the rink from the city and controls rink operations is the Washington County Sports Foundation Inc.

Karen Giffin, the city's spokeswoman, said Monday she did not have a current list of the foundation board members.

Britt Miller, who has been the Sports Foundation's board of directors chairman for about two months, said Monday, "We support our management team. He has been doing a good job. Under U.S. law, the man is innocent until proven guilty. I think the truth will come out."

As far as the rink's accounting, Miller said he trusts that the money is in good hands. The board's treasurer, Kristi Pottol, is "an accounting major," he said.

Brandenburg, 52, of 13822 North Valley Drive, north of Hagerstown, was charged with two counts each of felony theft, felony theft scheme and embezzlement in connection with $36,000 in missing membership dues from Funkstown Moose Lodge, according to charging documents.

The money was taken between April 2002 and September 2002 when Brandenburg was administrator, documents allege.

The Sheriff's Department alleges in charging documents that Brandenburg took membership dues - $40 for existing members and $60 for new members - from several applicants and issued them fake "temporary" membership cards, saying they would receive their "official" membership cards from Moose International shortly afterward, but those cards never came.

Funkstown Moose Lodge Administrator Mike Stumbaugh contacted police in January to report the missing money, which was called to his attention by Moose International. The international organization normally receives a portion of local membership dues, but had not received payments from the Funkstown lodge "for several years," documents state.

Brandenburg didn't report any membership information to Moose International, never sent them a share of either new membership money or current membership money during his time as administrator and never deposited any money into the Funkstown lodge's accounts reflecting membership payments, Investigator Christopher Weaver alleged in charging documents.

Records indicated $13,000 was missing in new membership dues and $18,600 was missing in current membership dues, documents allege.

Through the lodge's investigation, it was discovered that Brandenburg allegedly "had a computer program installed into the lodge's computer and was making fake membership cards and distributing them to the members when they paid their dues," documents state.

Stumbaugh told The Herald-Mail Saturday that no memberships were jeopardized because of the criminal investigation.

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