ASA Reports Employee Theft, Two Executives Resign

May 8, 2013

May 8, 2013—The Automotive Service Association’s (ASA) board of directors on Wednesday reported it has been the victim of theft by a former employee, causing two association executives to resign.

Darrell Amberson, chairman of the ASA, said a member of the association’s administrative staff associated with accounting functions used an ASA credit card for personal purchases, such as clothing and travel. He said the purchases amount to “many tens of thousands of dollars.” It is not yet known when the embezzlement activities started.

“Unfortunately, this person had too much control in accounting and administrative areas, and a level of trust where they were not checked adequately, which allowed this person to do what they did,” Amberson said. “Our staff has been going through statements to identify what [the amount] is. The staff is still researching it.”

The ASA said the proper authorities have been contacted, and it is “taking concerted action to hold that person accountable for the crimes committed.” The individual was terminated with cause earlier this year, but their name was not revealed due to the pending investigation.

Dan Stander, collision division director for the ASA, said the embezzlement problem was discovered after Dan Risley joined the organization as executive vice president in March.

“[Risley] figured out some information, and uncovered a few issues that didn’t make sense,” Stander said. “He brought it to the board’s attention, and we started doing some investigation from there.”

Following discovery of the issue, two ASA executives have also stepped down. Names of the executives were not disclosed.

“There is one person who had some awareness of some things that the first person was doing,” Amberson said. “Because they had some awareness that couldn’t be tolerated, they were dismissed as well.”

Amberson asserts that the recent resignation of Ron Pyle as president and chief staff executive of the ASA is not affiliated with the scandal. He said Pyle’s contract was scheduled to expire later this year, and his transition out of the position was planned long before the embezzlement was discovered.

“I have to adamantly say the change in leadership relevant to Ron Pyle is not related. He was not involved,” Amberson said.

Amberson said the scandal should not have much impact on the ASA from a financial perspective moving forward. The ASA has insurance coverage for these types of situations and immediately filed a claim. The organization has already recuperated a portion of its loss, and expects to recover a majority of the stolen funds.

In addition, the ASA said the annual NACE and CARS events, which are produced by Hanley Wood Exhibitions under the Automotive Service & Repair Week (ASRW) umbrella, have not been compromised. Those events, and all related income, are handled directly by Hanley Wood and are completely separate from the ASA’s finances.

Amberson said the ASA has also implemented several internal measures to prevent such problems in the future, including accountability, oversight and auditing processes of financial statements.

“The board believes the association will be stronger going forward as a result of these unfortunate circumstances,” the ASA said in a press release_notes. “ASA is a grassroots organization that has survived many decades because of the leadership and strength of its volunteer board members. The newly elected board is committed to ensuring the association meets the needs of its members and affiliated associations through collaboration and transparency. The recent announcements specific to the board’s vision and the hiring of an interim executive director support the board’s resolve to usher in a new era at ASA.”