The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Twenty Six
“Who made that bad decision, Roger?” Adam said.
Roger sipped his coffee before answering. “Harold and I discussed it when he joined the board and we decided we could drop that rider from our policy and increase our accident coverage without substantially changing the overall cost.”
“You decided? This wasn’t brought before the board for a vote?” Helena shouted.
Roger shook his head shortly.
“And the legal ramifications of that?” Solidad asked Matt.
“It would really depend on the wording of the board charter. Without having a copy in front of me, my best guess is that you are all still on the hook. This board is responsible to the families who pay you to educate and house their children. Everyone is being cagey about the financial ramifications, however, if money is indeed missing, it could be enough to bankrupt this academy.”
“I think that’s premature,” Roger tried to interject.
The rest of the board members were too busy exclaiming and starting to formulate sentences, arguments, or attacks.
Spence slapped the space bar to pause. “I’m guessing they all wish something stronger than coffee was being served.”
“They must be pretty sure there’s a problem for this kind of kerfluffle,” Melanie responded.
“We really need that report from the forensic accountant.” Spence hit the space bar again.
“You are responsible for this mess,” Solidad was shouting at Roger. “I will sue you if I have to accept any financial responsibility for your bad decisions.”
Matt stood up, stuck two fingers in his mouth, and let out an ear piercing whistle.
Slowly people sat back in their chairs and begrudgingly gave him their attention.
“All of this is moot. We need to contact the accounting firm. No decisions can be made and no amount of shouting will change the situation you find yourself in. Try to conduct yourself as reasonable adults.”
With a tentative low voice, Roger asked, “Did one of you kill Harold because he was stealing from the Academy?”
There was a collective gasp.
Matt cleared this throat. Before he could speak, Solidad’s mouth twisted and out came, “Maybe he was knocked off for banging the nurse.”
Simultaneous hands reached for the space bar.
“Harold was banging the nurse?” Melanie stared at the screen. “I want to back it up and listen again.”
“Oh she said it alright. We need to chat with Nurse Nancy again away from no-means-no Matt’s eagle eye.”
As the video resumed, Matt said, “We have no evidence that would suggest such a thing unless you have knowledge you have not shared with the group, in which case as your lawyer, I would advise you keep that knowledge to yourself.”
Roger wiped his mouth neatly with his napkin before placing it onto the space in front of him at the table. “It is clear we are not going to accomplish anything tonight. I think we should adjourn.”
Helena snorted, “Of course you think we should adjourn. I think we need a plan of action going forward. And since I know how a board actually works, I’m putting it out there that we should work out action items and assignments before we adjourn today.”
“Second.” Adam was quick with his word.
“It had been suggested and seconded that we work out action items and assignments. Discussion is now open.” Although with the dirty look Roger dished round the table as he spoke, no one said anything.
“Shall we call for a vote then?” Roger sighed heavily, “All in favor of making a plan?”
It was a round of unanimous ayes.
“Lovely. And what is your brilliant plan, Helena?” Roger was getting downright snarky.
“Clearly, we need to ascertain where the money went?”
Roger chortled. “Earth shattering. How would you like to go about that?”
“We do what Matt suggested and get Harold’s company to open our own records to us.”
Solidad laughed, “I came up with that, what an hour ago? Matt, when are you free to trot down to the accountancy?”
“I can make time in my schedule Monday morning.”
“Wonderful. Consider it settled.”
”It’s not like I knew. I couldn’t have known it was…I’ve known Harold for 15 years. I never thought…” Roger seemed incapable of completing a sentence.
Adam shook his head. “I refuse to be responsible for this mess. Decisions were made on behalf of the board by the President and Treasurer without consulting us. Those decisions have made this malfeasance possible. Harold’s estate should be sued for recompense and barring that Roger should need to make good.”
Matt cleared his throat. “I will review the wording of the board charter to evaluate the legal responsibilities of the board members in this situation. Although suing the Paulson estate is certainly the first method I would advise to collect the missing funds, if indeed funds are found to be missing.”
Melanie hit the space bar. “That man loves to use that phrase.”
“He’s a lawyer, he’s covering his ass.” Spence resumed the video.
“If, if, if. The problem is we have no idea what’s actually been going on here. We don’t know who’s doing what with what money. People are making decisions. I loved attending this Academy and I was honored when I was asked to serve the board. Things have really gone downhill in recent years.” Adam delivered a pointed glare at Doctor Wallsgraf.
“This academy was run admirably under my tenure. All accounts within my access are in impeccable order.”
“No one is accusing you,” Matt said flatly. “You can know all you want, however, without evidence, you have no case to stand on. I suggest we adjourn.”
People nodded and fussed. Adam stormed out. Helena and Solidad slid their chairs closer together in a conversation the microphone couldn’t pick up above the din. And then the video cut out, back to gray snow.