A Masonic center in Vancouver, Washington has lost its building and charity funds from internal theft by an unscrupulous treasurer, who has subsequently been sentenced to three years in prison. Over a six year period, Jay Garland stole over $800,000 from the temple association. The center was home to 13 lodges, youth groups, and other Masonic organizations and charities.
From The Columbian website:
Jesten Jay Galland III
A former mortgage adviser was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for embezzling nearly $800,000 from the Vancouver Masonic Temple while serving as the organization’s treasurer.
Just before Jesten Jay Galland III, 47, was sentenced, the organization’s leaders revealed that the monetary loss from his thefts has forced them to put the Vancouver Masonic Center, 2500 N.E. 78th St., up for sale.
“That building is not really financially viable right now,” said Leigh Cahill, master of Washington Lodge No. 4. “That doesn’t mean there won’t be a Masonic Center. It just won’t be that building.”
Washington Lodge No. 4 is one of four Masonic lodges that call the center home. The others are Mount Hood Lodge No. 32, Ridgefield Daylight No. 237 and Vancouver No. 47 — Prince Hall Mason.
About 30 people associated with the Masonic Center attended Galland’s sentencing hearing Wednesday. Those who spoke asked the judge to give Galland the maximum sentence allowed by the law. They also described some of the ripple effects of Galland’s crimes.
In addition to selling the Masonic Center, Masons have been unable to fund their college scholarship programs and charitable contributions, including to the Shriners Hospitals for Children, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Relay for Life, youth groups and local high school fundraisers, Cahill said.
“He always came across to me as a model of what I wanted to be,” Mason Steven Thompson said of Galland. “That trust is now violated.”
Galland faced up to three years and seven months in prison for the crime. However, Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Nisle agreed to recommend the three-year sentence and to dismiss 46 charges in exchange for Galland’s admission of guilt.
Galland pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court on Aug. 27 to nine counts of second-degree identity theft and agreed to repay the $800,000 he stole in the form of restitution. The dismissed charges included seven counts of first-degree theft, seven counts of first-degree identity theft, 16 counts of forgery, eight counts of unlawful possession of payment instruments and eight counts of money laundering.
Judge Greg Gonzales said that in deference to the hard work of Nisle and Galland’s defense attorney, W. Todd Pascoe, he would reluctantly follow the recommended sentence of three years.
“You were there to lead, to organize these people, and you let them down by your conduct,” Gonzales told Galland.
Mason Jonathan Gill said the sentence was too lenient.
“Restitution is a joke,” Gill said. “We’ll never get that money back.”To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.
The lodges are now renting space in the lower level of the Vancouver Elks Lodge hall at 11605 SE McGillivary Blvd, and are making renovations to that space to make it suitable for Masonic activities. For information about how to help the Vancouver Masonic Temple, visit www.vancouvermasoniccenter.org
And if your Masonic organization (or ANY volunteer organization) doesn't have a policy in place for annual audit committees, RIGHT NOW is the time to demand them. If your lodge put you on an audit committee and you don't have the first clue how to go about it, here's a thumbnail guide from January's Masonic Service Association bulletin. CLICK HERE.