Ralph Clark, the Woodruff Arts Center’s former director of facilities, struck a plea deal Tuesday after admitting to federal prosecutors that he embezzled more than $1.1 million from the nonprofit organization.
From 2005 and 2012, Clark submitted around $779,000 to Lowe’s Services, an apartment cleaning business that his wife owned. The company billed for services that were never provided for the arts center.
“The Woodruff Arts Center is an important part of the fabric of our community,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a public statement. “This defendant embezzled over $1 million from funds intended for the benefit of our citizens.”
Clark began his tenure at Woodruff in 2004 as a mechanic. Rising through the ranks, he became the center’s director of facilities in 2006, allowing him to sign off on contracts worth as much as $50,000.
Woodruff is Atlanta’s largest cultural organization and is home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Alliance Theatre, High Museum of Art and Young Audiences has filed an insurance claim for the loss, but has not been settled.
“Mr. Clark chose to violate his position of trust at the Woodruff Arts Center,” FBI agent Mark F. Giuliano said. “In addition, he violated federal law by attempting to profit through arrangements with various contracted vendors. The FBI will continue to provide assistance and investigative resources in such matters that negatively impact our non-profit, cultural institutions such as the Woodruff Arts Center.”
Clark’s sentencing will be held on August 7, where he is expected to be given a sentence of between 41 and 51 months and be required to pay a fine of $250,000.