Farm Bureau, Beautification Committee lost at least $360,000

By on Tue, March 8, 2011

Jack Olsen may have stolen more than $199,000 from the Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee—in addition to $160,000 that is missing from the San Mateo County Farm Bureau, reports Julia Scott in the County Times.

[Beautification Committee president Cameron] Palmer, along with certified public accountant Jude Damasco, estimated that Olsen had taken $199,000 from the bank account and sent it to other banks that handle credit card payments. Most of the money was withdrawn using checks, but about $55,000 was taken using withdrawal slips, he said.

“We don’t know where any of the money went. We don’t know if he was in financial peril,” said Palmer.

The losses could easily exceed $199,000, considering Olsen was treasurer for nearly a decade. The Beautification Committee’s investigation only went back to 2008 because the organization’s insurance carrier will only reimburse it for losses up to $100,000.

“At some point it’s overkill—and their sense is they’ve got the lion’s share of what’s occurred,” said Damasco, speaking of Palmer and his group.


The San Mateo County Farm Bureau, which has been far less forthcoming about its investigation, could be facing much heavier losses. In September, Farm Bureau board President Rex Geitner filed a tax form showing that after Olsen’s death, the Farm Bureau could not account for $160,337 for fiscal year 2008-09. The losses brought the Farm Bureau’s net assets from $260,239 to $81,776.

The Farm Bureau did not respond to the County Times’s requests for comment.