Grimm turns himself into authorities

Renee Shadforth

Former Donner Summit Public Utility District General Manager Steven Grimm turned himself into authorities Wednesday.

Grimm, who allegedly embezzled more than $300,000 from the district during his time as general manager there, surrendered at Nevada County Superior Court in Nevada City and was booked into the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility. Grimm was freed on $20,000 bond.

Grimm, 54, of Norden, resigned from the district April 11 after the utility district’s attorney and board of directors discovered evidence reflecting that Grimm had stolen or embezzled funds from the district, according to police reports. The felony complaint includes three counts of embezzling government funds, from 2000 to 2002, and one count of credit card fraud in 2002.

No charges have been brought against Grimm’s wife and utility district board member, Sandra Harmon, according to Nevada County Deputy District Attorney James Phillips.

The evidence included accounting histories, cancelled checks – some made out to Donner Ski Ranch, where Grimm is part owner and was general manager, for as much as $15,000 – and other banking documents, the report said.

Co-owner of Donner Ski Ranch, Norman Saylor, refused to comment on the charges brought against Grimm.

The bulk of the funds in question were handwritten checks to the ski resort and “Donner Spitz Inn.” Initially Grimm told investigators the checks were given to the businesses for services provided to the district, according to the police report.

Other checks were allegedly used to purchase items at Comp USA, Best Buy, Costco and one check to a bike shop in Fairfield, Calif., for $4,500. After investigators obtained itemization reports, they determined none of the equipment purchased could be found in the utility district.

Grimm is also being investigated on allegations of forgery.

“Grimm admitted to forging signatures of Julie Davies, [utility district] board vice president, without her knowledge or approval,” according to the report.

Early this year, the Donner Summit Public Utility District Board held a closed-session meeting, where the board questioned Grimm as to irregularities and non-payment issues.

After the meeting, Grimm was allowed to continue working at the district with supervision and no check-writing abilities, according to the utility district’s attorney Geoffrey Evers.

After conducting an internal audit, Evers contacted authorities on April 11.

Investigators had been in contact with Grimm’s attorney, who had made arrangements for Grimm to turn himself in. Initially, Grimm failed to turn himself into authorities and was aware that law enforcement is looking for him, said officials at the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office.

Attempts by the Sierra Sun to contact Grimm were unanswered, and his criminal attorney Dale Wood of Truckee had no comment at this time.

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