Capitol Hill

Former employee accused of stealing $236,000 from kids club

Former employee accused of stealing $236,000 from kids club
LAKE FOREST PARK, Wash. -- A Lake Forest Park woman is accused of taking thousands of dollars that belonged to an after school program and spending it on vacations, dinners and shopping sprees.

A civil lawsuit alleges Cathy Reed stole at least $236,000 during her four-year employment as executive director at Kids' Club -- an organization that met at Stevens Elementary School on Capitol Hill.

"I think in this instance there was a lot of trust built up between the former board and the former executive director and unfortunately it seems that trust was abused," said Seth Berntsen, the attorney for Kids' Club.

Berntsen says Reed gave herself unauthorized bonuses and raises -- more than doubling her salary.

"It was disturbing both with respect to the amount of money involved and also the types of purchases that were made that couldn't conceivably have been benefited the programs and services the kids' club was administering," he said.

Court documents allege Reed spent the money on family vacations to Hawaii and Disneyland, a new car, shopping trips -- even college tuition payments.

"The trips all over the place jumped out at me," Berntsen said. "How can you claim that a trip to Disneyland somehow benefited kids here in Seattle that didn't go on the trip?"

The club board learned about the misuse of funds after numerous requests for financial information, including staff salaries, bonuses and expenditures.

The Kids' Club filed a police report with Seattle Police in the spring, but Reed has never been charged with a crime and our calls to Seattle Police Wednesday were not returned. But the Kids' Club says they have filed the civil suit to recover the stolen money and to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

KOMO News attempted to contact Reed for this story but she was not available.