Trade Tech president on alleged forgery: Checks were unauthorized
The president of Los Angeles Trade Technical College said Tuesday that no one was authorized to sign his name on checks that were identified in a college district audit as potentially forged.
The Los Angeles Community College District undertook an audit of checks issued by the Trade Tech foundation as part of a probe of the foundation's finances and particularly payments to the executive director, Rhea Chung.
An audit report released Monday concluded that more than $137,000 worth of foundation checks bearing Trade Tech President Roland "Chip" Chapdelaine's signature were not actually signed by Chapdelaine, although auditors wrote that they were "unable to render an opinion" as to who signed them. The bulk of the checks were payments to Chung totaling $99,676.
Chung's attorneys argued that Chapdelaine was aware of the payments and that the checks were not forgeries because Chapdelaine had authorized other employees to sign for him in his absence.
Chapdelaine said in an email Tuesday that the employees were not authorized to sign checks for him, and that the only people authorized to sign foundation checks were him, Chung and the chair of the foundation board.
"[The other employees] were authorized to sign only such college documents as travel vouchers, reimbursement forms, grant applications, various reports, etc. When such documents were signed in my absence they would sign using their name with a notation that they were signing for me or signed my name with a notation using their name or initials indicating they were signing for me," he wrote.
In addition to the college district audit, the issue of the checks has sparked an inquiry by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office into allegations of forgery.
— Abby Sewell