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Published: 9/19/2009

Ex-manager, accountant indicted in theft from radio station

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two men indicted on charges of stealing money from a Christian radio station are accused of trying to get away with more than $24,000 in credit card transactions and bad checks, the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office said.

Richard L. Waldron, who was the station's general manager, was indicted by a Lucas County grand jury this week for grand theft and six counts of forgery.

Jack L. Karsten, Jr., its former public accountant, was indicted for tampering with records and evidence.

The money was found missing in the spring of 2008 from WPOS-FM (102.3). Both men left the station later that year.

"We knew that there were some irregularities. The indictments don't even cover all of the money we believe is missing," Al Gaige, the station's general manager, said yesterday.

He described the situation as a "sad" series of events.

The station is part of a ministry that has existed for 43 years. It now finds its reserves have been depleted, Mr. Gaige said.

The charges against Mr. Karsten stem from evidence that he committed fraud in a manner he hoped would cover up the crime and would impair the investigation, according to Dean Mandros, chief of the criminal division of the prosecutor's office.

A statement issued by WPOS said the radio station's board of directors discovered the problem in May, 2008.

"As a result, WPOS has changed its financial and accounting procedures. The ministry of WPOS remains strong, vibrant, and committed," the statement said.

The station said in August it had cut back on numerous expenses, from health insurance to concert promotions.

WPOS has an annual operating budget of $400,000 to $450,000. Much of its revenue comes from a "share-a-thon" the station holds every year.

The next such fund-raiser is scheduled for the first week of December.

Contact Tom Henry at:

thenry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6079.



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