Atlanta gay chamber boots treasurer after financial fraud discovery

Updated at 4:30 p.m. with additional comments from AGLCC President Jack Kinley.

Robby Mathis, the treasurer of the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, has been removed from his position after evidence of financial fraud was uncovered.

On Feb. 23, AGLCC board members met with Mathis to discuss “multiple suspicious payments from our bank accounts.” According to a statement released today, Mathis acknowledged unauthorized use of the organization’s funds.

“We believe we have discovered evidence of financial fraud at the chamber, which we are working diligently to assess and recuperate,” AGLCC President Jack Kinley said in an email to members. “Our success hinges on the trust of our members and partners. We honor that trust by being good stewards of the investments that you make in the organization. Unfortunately, an individual in our ranks has broken that trust.”

The AGLCC filed a police report today, and Kinley said members will be updated regularly through the investigation, as a matter of transparency. Kinley told Georgia Voice the police report is expected to be publicly available in three to five days.

“We are interviewing accounting firms to help us conduct a thorough investigation into the full extent of damages. A preliminary assessment of our financial records leads us to believe the loss may be in excess of $60,000,” AGLCC’s statement read. “We continue to have sufficient capital reserves to allow us to conduct business as usual while we pursue the complete restitution of misappropriated funds.”

Kinley told Georgia Voice the AGLCC does have an action  plan in place.

“Our next board meeting is March 9, so the full board will convene then and we have a candidate ready to go, to be interviewed as a potential interim treasurer,” he said. “That person will help us oversee the third-party accounting firm that will help us audit this as well as examine the checks and balances and make sure we rebuild stronger checks and balances.”

Kinley wouldn’t say how long the fraudulent charges had been going on — he told Georgia Voice they have to go through the full audit to determine what is or isn’t fraudulent — but said Mathis stepped down as directed without any drama.

“The AGLCC is a really tight-knit group of business professionals and it shocked all of us that this occurred,” Kinley said. “The most important thing we can do is assure member we have taken swift and thorough actions to mitigate our losses and prevent this from happening in the future. We look forward to resolving this.”