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Peninsula Symphony reports $500,000 missing

Group notified police after discovering disappearance of nearly all of its endowment, operating funds

The Peninsula Symphony is scrambling to raise pledges and donations after recently learning that the bulk of its endowment and operating funds -- about $500,000 -- has gone missing. The Los Altos group has notified police and hired a law firm "to assist with the Symphony's efforts to recover the missing assets," the symphony reported in a press release.

Executive Director Steve Carlton has resigned, and the group is looking for a replacement. In addition, the board of directors is "securing the services of a professional accounting firm to investigate the financial losses and is implementing strengthened financial-control mechanisms to protect future donations and contributions," the release states.

Symphony spokesman Larry Kamer told the Weekly that the group has "a person in mind" as a suspect in the funds' disappearance. He declined to comment further.

This season's concerts are expected to continue as scheduled. They include the symphony's two local performances: concerts with the Stanford University Symphonic Chorus at Bing Concert Hall on campus on Nov. 22 and 24. Other events include concerts in San Mateo and Cupertino.

The season is able to go on because symphony board members and musicians launched a fundraising drive shortly after hearing of the loss; the new pledges and contributions will "fund nearly a half a season's scaled-down operating budget," according to the press release.

The 65-year-old nonprofit symphony is continuing to raise funds "to restore the organization to good financial health to come," the release reads.

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