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Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Mar 30 2015, Page 3

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - March 30, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE A3 OUR GENERAL MANAGERS INVITE YOU TO THIS SPECTACULAR EVENT! VALUE WISE SHOPPERS WILL NOT MISS THIS EVENT Kirk Cancilla Crown Acura Wade Lee Crown Honda Michael Desgroseilliers Crown Mazda Brent Sayles Crown Nissan Don Saranchuk Crown Toyota Scion Dave Zulak Winnipeg Honda Peter Cox AutoMax RECEIVE UP TO $ 3 , 000 OVER BLACK BOOK VALUE FOR YOUR TRADE V UP TO $ 11 , 500 CASH DISCOUNTS PAYMENTS AS LOW AS $ 42 WEEKLY ON NEW CARS RISK- FREE CAR BUYING... WE GUARANTEE IT! TheDilawriGroup. ca 204- 269- 1572 CrownToyotaScion. ca 204- 269- 9551 CrownAcura. ca 204- 261- 9580 WinnipegHonda. ca 204- 284- 6632 CrownHonda. ca 204- 885- 2623 CrownMazda. ca 204- 269- 4685 CrownNissan. ca 204- 487- 1858 AutomaxCanada. ca Dilawri’s Auto Group Winnipeg 24 HOUR SALE 9- 9 , 9- 9 30- 31 Dilawri Clearout . c a TOP NEWS CITY EDITOR: SHANE MINKIN 204- 697- 7292 I CITY. DESK@ FREEPRESS. MB. CA I WINNIPEGFREEPRESS. COM MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2015 A 3 T HE former general manager and artistic director of the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre has been charged with embezzling $ 85,000 from the non- profit organization. Winnipeg police issued a warrant for the arrest of Michael Nathanson, 48, in January — almost a year after an investigation into thefts from the theatre were first reported — and while Nathanson was living in Texas. The warrant was not made public. Nathanson, who has dual Canadian- American citizenship, moved to the U. S. after being fired from the theatre last February for reasons the theatre board never fully explained publicly. He was arrested Saturday while trying to enter Manitoba. Although Nathanson’s departure to the U. S. last year coincided with the start of the investigation, police could not confirm the reason for Nathanson leaving the country. “ I’m not suggesting he left for that reason ( the investigation),” noted Const. Jason Michalyshen. “ He may or may not have. Despite that, our investigation continued.” Nathanson was charged with theft over $ 5,000 and forgery. He was remanded in custody. A spokesman for the theatre said the organization would not comment on the arrest. “ Maybe at some later date we’ll talk more,” theatre vice- president Greg Di Cresce told the Free Press Sunday. Nathanson, a mainstay of the Winnipeg theatre community for decades, was originally hired by the theatre in 2007 when the group was mired in financial difficulty, only filling half the auditorium for productions. Nathanson, who was also a Governor General’s Award- nominated playwright, held several positions with the company during the next seven years. Over that period, Nathanson allegedly falsified financial records he presented to the theatre board — all the while slowly draining the theatre’s bank account for personal use. Michalyshen said some members of the board began to notice “ inconsistencies” in the theatre’s financial picture. An investigation ensued. In February 2014, when Nathanson was “ let go” ( the board never publicly said he was fired), a short note was posted on the theatre website announcing the general manager’s sudden departure, along with the cancellation of the final show of the season. “ We look forward to returning to the stage in the future,” read the statement. The theatre did return following a six- month closure for financial reasons. Earlier this month, the theatre named a new artistic director, Ari Weinberg, and the company’s next production, Bad Jews , will make its Canadian première at the Berney Theatre May 6 to 17. The investigation by the commercial crime unit never waned, said Michalyshen. “ Obviously, the paper trail runs long and deep, and we’ve got to do our due diligence,” he said. “ We have to dig deep into financial records of not only that organization. Then you start talking about numerous transactions taking place... you can only imagine the workload and the importance of detail. “ I realize we all want things instantaneously. We watch different crime ( TV) shows, where things magically happen within a 45- minute period. The reality is that’s not the case. This takes weeks, oftentimes months, maybe even years to dig deep into financial records and fully understand what we’re dealing with.” The warrant was issued in January. Police believed Nathanson, who has children living in Winnipeg, would return to the city eventually. “ In the past, we’ve gone through a number of channels with respect to apprehending individuals who have left for a variety of reasons or fled,” Michalyshen said. “ Do we make efforts to bring them back and hold them accountable? Sure. That certainly could have been the case ( with Nathanson), but we didn’t have to go that route. Although theatre board members declined to comment Sunday, Michalyshen said the organization, which survives on government grants and donations, was distraught. “ I can tell they are clearly upset by what has transpired,” he said. “ It’s likely a very difficult time for this group. But I think by releasing this information, this is an opportunity for them to move forward in a positive way. “ We’re hopeful and optimistic this local theatre will get back on their feet and do what they’re intended to do.” randy. turner@ freepress. mb. ca Ex- director faces theft charge Jewish theatre robbed of $ 85K By Randy Turner ‘ We’re hopeful and optimistic this local theatre will get back on their feet and do what they’re intended to do’ SARAH TAYLOR / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS It’s alleged Michael Nathanson ( below) stole money from the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre in the Asper Jewish Community Centre while he was employed there. A_ 03_ Mar- 30- 15_ FP_ 01. indd A3 3/ 29/ 15 7: 50: 50 PM

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