HOLMES BEACH — So where is all that money?
That’s what some Key Royale Club members wanted to know Thursday now that their former bookkeeper, Holly Elaine Connelly, turned herself into authorities Wednesday morning in connection with $387,181.77 in missing club funds.
Connelly, 29, who left the private club on Anna Maria Island in April, has been charged with scheme to defraud and was still in the Manatee Central jail on Thursday in lieu of a $500,000 bond.
The Holmes Beach Police Department is still trying to sort out what happened to the missing $387,181.77 they allege that Connelly misappropriated, Detective Michael Leonard said Thursday.
“We don’t know yet where that stands,” Leonard said when asked if the money has been spent, is still in bank accounts or is in recoverable cash or goods.
Christopher Nigro, the assistant state attorney handling the case, was in trial Thursday and could not immediately return a call to address the issue of whether some of the members' embezzled money has been collected with the arrest, his staff said.
At the club on Thursday, members, who also did not know yet if any money has been recovered, made their views known eloquently and with a touch of class concerning Connelly’s alleged misdeeds.
“She’s off my Christmas card list,” said member Jon Holcomb, speaking of Connelly.
Holcomb said he would like to know just how much money was taken and where it is now?
“We haven’t been informed yet if any of the money has been recovered,” Holcomb said as he prepared to play in a men’s scramble golf event Thursday morning. “We don’t also know the exact amount that is gone. We’re heard $485,000 and $387,000. We would like to know the true figure.”
Holcomb and other members all stated that the club will march on, despite the loss.
“We will be OK,” said member Richard Papini.
When he heard about the former bookkeeper’s arrest, Holcomb said he was pleased.
“I’m glad,” he said. “I just hope justice will be served.”
Member Dave Johnston said members had way too much faith that a person given a position of responsibility would always continue to act responsibly.
“We trusted her too much,” Johnson said.
Papini joined Holcomb in wanting to know more about how the alleged scheme to defraud was able to occur below everyone’s radar.
“Was she a good bookkeeper? Well, she had us all fooled,” Papini said. “I would like to know more about how this happened.”
“You just never know,” said member Jim Kirk.
Papini did take a slight jab at the former bookkeeper.
“She wasn’t very friendly,” Papini said.
While employed at the club, Connelly “falsely represented the amount of money within the club’s accounts, wrote checks to herself and forged and uttered those checks at multiple Wachovia Banks,” an arrest report states.
She then “deposited those forged and uttered checks directly into her own bank account,” the report adds.
Connelly has five previous court items, including two small claims, a traffic infraction and a home foreclosure, on her record since 2003 in Manatee County.