Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
City official's wife accused of stealing $8K

The accountant wife of a city commissioner was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing more than $8,000 from her resort employer.

Lula Vorick, 57, was charged with one count of felony larceny of more than $5,000 and less than $10,000.

Vorick, wife of City Commissioner Jeff Vorick, is accused of stealing $8,180 from the Ocean Beach Club Hotel Resort, where she worked as a bookkeeper, according to an arrest warrant.

"This is totally out of character, and she's certainly innocent until proven otherwise," Jeff Vorick said Tuesday. "She hasn't yet had her chance to present her side of the case."

He added that she has cooperated with investigators and hired defense attorney Hal Schuhmacher.

Lula Vorick allegedly used company checks to pay herself $3,500 between May 29 and Sept. 19, the warrant states. Between Sept. 1 and 23, Vorick reportedly was authorized to work only two hours a week, but overpaid herself $2,780.

She also took her son on a trip to North Carolina in June in which she allegedly used the company credit card to pay for $1,900 in hotels, gas, a rental car, cash withdrawals and a trip to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, the warrant states.

On Oct. 9, Lula Vorick reportedly sent resort owner Janet Bischoff an email from her personal email account stating, "Janet -- I am so ashamed. I used the company debit card on my trip with [the son] this past summer. I have no excuses except that I wanted [him] to have a fun trip," the warrant states.

She also wrote: "Based on the medical records, I was in the Guidance Clinic for over a week. The first day I remember was Sunday prior to my release, which was on Oct. 21," according to the arrest warrant.

Vorick had suffered an anxiety or panic attack, her husband said, and was hospitalized.

What bearing, if any, that has on the case is unknown, Schuhmacher said Tuesday.

"I can't comment on medical issues or records that as you know are privileged (under federal privacy laws) unless we file something in court and waive that privilege," Schuhmacher said, adding that he has not yet fully reviewed the case.

Lula Vorick was released from Monroe County Detention Center in Marathon on Monday after posting $2,500 bail.

The Ocean Beach Club Hotel & Resort has been closed for renovations and is set to reopen on March 1.

A man who answered the phone there on Tuesday said Lula Vorick no longer works there.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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