The board of the local Society of Professional Journalists chapter announced after a special weekend meeting that "information had surfaced showing unauthorized withdrawals had been made from the chapter’s checking account." Sarah Baisley, the chapter’s treasurer for many years, "was removed from her position by the chapter president and ad hoc budget committee members after the unauthorized withdrawals were discovered following a review of chapter finances."
Chapter president Alice Walton, the KPCC City Hall reporter, said in a statement that a preliminary review revealed "significant unauthorized withdrawals were made in 2010 and 2011." Incomplete records are hindering a full accounting, the group's announcement said.
Walton said SPJ/LA chapter board members have hired an attorney and will seek the services of a forensic accountant to compile as clear and complete a picture as possible of the extent of the unauthorized activity and the true state of the chapter’s finances. She said the withdrawals were discovered on the evening of Jan. 2, when a member of the ad hoc budget committee was reviewing the available records with the treasurer.
“Once we have a better accounting,” Walton said, “that information will be turned over to the proper law enforcement authorities without delay.”