Greenmeadow embezzler pleads 'no contest'

Kimball Allen to receive a six-month, stayed sentence and pay back $60,000-plus

Kimball Allen, the former administrative manager who embezzled nearly $70,000 from a Palo Alto neighborhood association, pleaded no contest on Friday morning (April 29) in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto.

Allen, 29, was accused of a 2010 spending spree using the Greenmeadow Community Association's credit card. His expenditures included a down payment for a BMW roadster, trips to Hawaii and Mexico and other vacations and hair transplants.

Under a plea deal, he will receive a six-month sentence in county jail and must make restitution of the total amount he took from Greenmeadow within one year.

The jail term will be stayed while he works to pay back the debt. But if he does not make restitution within one year, he must serve the six-month sentence, Rob Baker, Santa Clara County supervising deputy district attorney, said.

Allen is expected to pay back $60,000 to $70,000. The full sum will take several months to compile, Baker said. Upon completion of restitution, the judge will reduce the embezzlement conviction to a misdemeanor, and Allen would be on probation for three years, he said.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 18.

Baker said the primary goal was to hold Allen accountable for his crime and to enable Greenmeadow to recoup its losses.

"The promise of a misdemeanor and six months in county jail provides a great incentive to reimburse Greenmeadow and make them whole again," Baker said.

Allen's age, lack of a prior criminal record and willingness to accept responsibility were also factors in the deal, he said.

"He's been very remorseful. I think it's a very fair resolution," Baker said.

Allen appeared in a neatly pressed gray suit. The front of his hair was combed in his trademark ducktail flip.

His thin frame sat motionless, his hands tightly clasped as he awaited Judge Thang Nguyen Barrett.

Allen had originally pleaded not guilty to the felony charge, which could have resulted in a three-year prison sentence if convicted by a jury. That plea appeared to largely have been a formality prior to the plea negotiations.

He resigned his position in December 2010 to start up a gymnastics studio in Redwood City. Some of the equipment and the business incorporation costs were charged to the association's credit card.

His crime was discovered by his Greenmeadow successor when several items he said would be delivered never arrived. An audit of the association's books found that invoices for many items he recorded in the association's books never existed. He substituted the business-related items to cover for his personal purchases, according to court documents.

Allen wrote a one-page, handwritten confession and apology to the association on March 17.

Douglas Rappaport, Allen's attorney, said Allen is working and "is working very hard" to pay back Greenmeadow.

"It's one of those rare win-win situations," he said of the agreement.

"People do make mistakes, and without disclosing the reason why, there was a reason he made this mistake," Rappaport said.

"Mr. Allen acknowledged he made a mistake very early on. He's very remorseful and is now working very hard to make up for his mistake. In the end, the homeowners' association will be made whole and everyone will come out of this process better people," he said.

He declined a request for an interview with Allen, citing the open case and his client's pending restitution. Allen now reportedly lives in Alaska, where his sister-in-law lives.

Sean Giffen, Greenmeadow's president, said he saw Allen in the courtroom earlier that morning. Allen turned and gave him a nod, he said.

"It was certainly uncomfortable. If I had one feeling, it was probably pity. I really hope that he has the ability and motivation to make us whole, and I hope he finds a good path in life and becomes a productive member of society, We need more good people out there," he said.

He acknowledged that some community members would be disappointed that Allen won't immediately be serving jail time.

"I think we all agree on the restitution," he said.

But as president, his primary focus has been getting the organization to heal and getting the money back, he said.

"It's great news that we have that opportunity," he said.

If Allen doesn't make restitution, "then the wheels of justice will act accordingly," he said.

Greenmeadow's "wholeness" goes beyond just the monetary repair, Giffen said.

"Getting back to a level of trust, I think we own that. It has to do with our own internal processes that we're continuing to refine. Once we've fully arrived at a prudent system or process, we'll be able to move on without fear," he said.

Association members have faith and trust in new administrative manager Donna Rhoan, who first discovered and reported Allen's embezzlement, he said.

The association is working on instituting safeguards that will also protect any future administrative manager from being in a similar position, he said.

"Our processes have changed. There are multiple eyes on the books, so to speak," he said.

Allen's embezzlement does have impacts beyond financial, Giffen acknowledged.

"While we may get the money back, our time and effort can't be returned," he said. "It's been a huge effort that you can't put a price on at the end of the day."

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Like this comment
Posted by what is he doing?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 29, 2011 at 6:32 pm

What kind of job does he have in Alaska that pays $70K in 6 months?

Like this comment
Posted by In Answer
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 29, 2011 at 11:17 pm

No, he has one year to pay it back. If he does not, he goes to prison for 6 months. One year is a short time for someone like him to earn $70,000. It might be easier to serve the time. Probably wouldn't be with the violent criminals anyway since it's a white collar crime. But they will probably be watching to be sure he is at least trying to earn some money to pay back.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 30, 2011 at 1:20 am

$70,000 take-home-after-tax-and-expenses is a good 1-year target for a greenhorn deckhand on an Alaskan fishing boat. Some oil industry jobs also pay as well at the entry level. Takes a strong work ethic and physical fitness. Key is working 24/7 and not having any free time in town to spend ones earnings.

Like this comment
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 30, 2011 at 4:28 pm

"The front of his hair was combed in his trademark ducktail flip."

That, and a good shyster, must have gotten him the deal. Lucky dude.

Like this comment
Posted by saffron
a resident of Mountain View
on May 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

Kimball was my daughters swim coach several years ago at lamvac. He was terrific with the kids and really engaged them. She was very saddened to read about whats happened and that he faced jail time. I really hope this was a stupid mistake and he makes full restitution and gets a second chance. He made a big difference for my kid a few years ago and I hope he can put this behind him and move on.

Like this comment
Posted by Karmel M. Sowers
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I once worked for Kimball at a non-profit in Saratoga. He was a fine person to have as a supervisor and always treated everyone with respect - his staff and community members. I cannot fathom what could have made him commit this crime but the resolution seems fair and the best for all parties. I will continue to pray for Kimball's emotional recovery. It looks like he is making strides in the right direction.

Like this comment
Posted by recovery
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 3, 2011 at 7:30 pm

You should pray for his moral recovery as well. I don't think it was his emotions or lack thereof that caused this problem.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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