Embezzlement charges against school board member

Does anyone know this Dennis Whitling fellow? Apparently he is a member of the Orange County School Board, and has been accused (not convicted) of embezzlement by a former employer. I know nothing about this and I don't want to jump to conclusions. Anyone have insights on this?

A Durham Police Department investigator applied in December for access to Dennis Alan Whitling's personal bank account information, writing that Whitling may have stolen more than $58,000 from a law office where he worked from 1984 to 2007, according to a search warrant.


Tuesday, Whitling slipped into the regularly scheduled Orange County School Board meeting 10 minutes after it started and left the room during the break before closed session at the end of the night. During the time for board comments, he did not offer any comments on the investigation.

- newsobserver.com |Orange Chat - No comment from Whitling, 1/23/08

And in related news... a hearing has been set for Feb. 18th in the embezzlement trial of former Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools' attorney John McCormick.



I guess one person's busy is another person's jam-packed with features. Do some people have a 2 column limit? This website is a lot less busy that a typical newspaper, or news-related website. I like it.  The logo is very good.
DTH:"Dennis Whitling, a member and former chairman of the Orange County Board of Education, resigned Monday from the board, effective immediately."
...is up for election this time around anyway. I hope the board has the good sense not to appoint anyone for the two and a half months that remain of his term.
It was first reported about 3 weeks ago in the CH Herald, I believe and the News of Orange reported it as well. Still pretty vague as to what happened, it appears. Whitling was in his first term as a board member and as Jason notes was up for re-election, along with Liz Brown and Al Hartkopf, neither of whom have filed for re-election. I have a feeling Hartkopf may try for BOCC instead, running as a Republican in District 2. Just a hunch.
He might as well try flying off of Occonneechee Mt. as try to get elected as a Republican commissioner.

From WRAL:

Dennis Whitling has been charged with obtaining property by false pretense, corporate malfeasance and obstruction of justice. The charges stem from the theft of $115,000 from a Durham law firm, police said.

In what appears to be a full admission of guilt, former Chair of the Orange County Board of Education has turned in his law license and been disbarred.

From Monday's Durham Herald-Sun:


Attorney disbarred over fraud allegation

From staff reports

Jul 28, 2008

DURHAM -- Already under a Bull City indictment for embezzlement, attorney Dennis Alan Whitling has surrendered his law license and accepted disbarment.

A disbarment order dated July 18, but not previously made public, was issued after Whitling acknowledged in a sworn affidavit that he may have engaged in fraudulent financial transactions.

Whitling's legal woes began in February, when a Durham grand jury indicted him on allegations of stealing money from a Hillandale Road law firm.

In addition to a charge that he embezzled more than $100,000, the then-52-year-old Whitling was indicted for alleged corporate malfeasance, obtaining property by false pretenses and obstruction of justice.

Whitling was arrested but released under a $10,000 bond.

At about the same time, he resigned from a four-year stint on the Orange County school board.

Whitling is accused in the indictments of making off with money from the Durham law office of Thomas J. Stevens, where he worked from 1983 until September 2007, when he left to open his own practice.

He reportedly had maintained business accounts for the Stevens firm, issued its payroll checks and reconciled its financial statements.

Fiscal problems at the law firm became quickly apparent after Whitling departed, Durham Police Cpl. Bennie Bradley said in a court affidavit.

Accountants were summoned by Stevens and were "able to identify numerous discrepancies in Whitling's documentation of the firm's business transactions," Bradley wrote.

The accountants concluded that Whitling apparently made out 26 checks to himself in 2006 and 2007 -- 17 for amounts greater than authorized and the rest not authorized at all, according to Bradley.

In an affidavit submitted early this month to the N.C. State Bar, which oversees the conduct of lawyers, Whitling said he knew he was under investigation for "diverting to myself legal fees from an estate trust for which I was trustee."

Whitling said he was aware the investigation also encompassed allegations that he filed a false report, indicating various funds "had been disbursed to the law firm when in fact I disbursed the funds to myself. ...

"I acknowledge that the material facts upon which the investigation are predicated are true," Whitling wrote.

"My resignation is being submitted because I know that if charges were predicated upon the misconduct under investigation, I could not successfully defend against them," he said.

Whitling emphasized that his resignation as a lawyer was being "freely and voluntarily rendered" and was "not the result of coercion or duress."

He could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Whitling's former law partner Thomas Stevens is he the current Mayor of Hillsborough? Not trying to imply anything about Mr. Stevens. I have met the Mayor and he seems like a nice and caring guy.
An interesting coincidence, but they are different Tom Stevens.

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