The Peninsula Symphony of Northern California has discovered that about $500,000 is missing from its endowment and operating funds and has reported it to Los Alto police, a symphony spokesman said Thursday.
A member of the Los Altos-based symphony's board recently looked into the group's account and saw that "money that was supposed to be there was not," symphony spokesman Larry Kamer said. "It represents substantially all of the assets of the organization."
Los Altos police Sgt. Scott McCrossin said that the department is in the early stages of a criminal investigation into the symphony's reported missing funds.
In light of missing money, the symphony's executive director, Steve Carlton, offered his resignation earlier this week and the board accepted it, Kamer said.
The missing funds, totaling about $500,000, include income from donations, ticket sales, investment interest and operating revenue, with the money going to pay orchestra member's salaries, marketing and other expenses, Kamer said.
No one knows how the symphony's funds were depleted, Kamer said. "Exactly where the money was taken is still being investigated," he said.
The board had enlisted the assistance, free of charge, from the law firm Baker & McKenzie, of San Francisco, to help with regaining the funds and is talking to a professional accounting firm about performing a forensic accounting of the group's books, he said.
The symphony is determined to continue its upcoming concert season, which starts later this month, and many of its musicians and donors in the community have pledged to make contributions, Kamer said.
The organization is optimistic it will be able to raise funds equaling the missing amount in the short term, he said.
The musical group's fall series begins on Oct. 25 featuring Irish pianist John O'Conor and the Masterworks Chorale at Capuchino High School in San Bruno, according to its website.
The orchestra has 134 violinists, cellists and other musicians, as well as a conductor, two assistant conductors and a stage manager, according to the website.