Santa Clara Police continue to pore through financial records and documents as they look into whether John Bitter, the former head coach and CEO of the Santa Clara Swim Club, embezzled more than $600,000 from the team.
As of Oct. 12, Bitter has yet to talk to police about the accusations. Capt. Wahid Kazem of the Santa Clara Police Dept. (SCPD) says investigators have reached out to Bitter for an interview, but have so far been unsuccessful.
“We want to give him ample time to provide a statement,” said Kazem. “We don’t want to put the District Attorney in a position to review the case with half of the story.”
Kazem expects the investigation to wrap up in the coming weeks. Once the investigation is done it will be submitted to the District Attorney’s office for review even if investigators have not had a chance to interview Bitter. It will be up to the District Attorney to decide if charges will be filed.
“At some point, enough will be enough and we’ll have to take the case to the District Attorney,” said Kazem.
Kazem will speak to the club’s membership this week to outline the investigation and answer any questions concerned club members may have.
The Santa Clara Swim Club has not filled the head coach position left open after Bitter’s termination. The club’s front office says the Board of Directors handles all matters determining swim club coaches. So far there is no word on when the position will be filled.
A statement from the Board was posted the Santa Clara Swim Club website on Oct. 4. It read in part, “Our number one priority is to ensure that members understand that the dishonest actions of one individual are not a reflection of the organization’s values and commitment.”
According to the most recent Board minutes posted on the Santa Clara Swim Club website, an emergency meeting of the club’s Board of Directors was held on Sept. 27. The meeting minutes say Board members voted unanimously to terminate Bitter’s contract immediately. The minutes say the decision was based on, “…the response received by John dated Sept. 26th.” There is no indication what that response was.
Accusations of financial improprieties were reported to SCPD on Sept. 29, just two days after Bitter was terminated.
Santa Clara Weekly has reached out to Bitter and the Santa Clara Swim Club Board for comment but has not received a response.