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Elderly Care Home Board Member Accused of Embezzling $1.3 Million

SACRAMENTO-

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office is looking at a civil complaint accusing a board member of an elderly care home of embezzling $1.3 million.  So far, it has not said if criminal charges are pending.

Kevin Manz, the owner of a media company which is involved with the gay and lesbian community, was on the board of the non-profit that runs Pioneer House, a high-rise home for the elderly located on 4th and P Streets.

He is accused in the suit of using the money he embezzled for his media companies, which include Gay in Sac Media and Pride Media.  The latter is a tenant of the Sacramento News & Review, which also paid to publish a bi-weekly insert for Manz dealing with the gay and lesbian community

But Sacramento News & Review operations manager, Will Niespodzinski, said it was announced Sunday Pride Media would cease operations and employees cleared out their desks on Monday.

“We’re all surprised as the community is and we’re just waiting to see what happens,” Niespodzinski said.

According to the lawsuit, Manz was responsible for investing the $2 million in proceeds from the sale of another elderly home in 2006.  The suit claims that Manz gave himself the sole authority to write checks against an investment account and wrote dozens of $10,000 checks to himself and his media company.

He apparently didn’t dispute taking the money when confronted by the non-profit’s board in January.  In fact, he began writing checks to repay the non-profit.

But his last check in February bounced.  The suit says including interest, he still owes around $900,000.

Manz was active with the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and collaborated in several fundraising campaigns for the community.  He was a member of the gay men’s chorus and was a major sponsor of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

The suit also says Manz made unauthorized expenditures on work done at Pioneer House. The suit says Manz “[...] exerted pressure on staff [...] to hire and pay his friends to perform unauthorized services at inflated rates [...]“

The suit also seeks reimbursment from Rocco G. DeMarco, a designer who is accused of received money from Manz.

Manz and DeMarco could not be reached for comment.