Donald Frost

Former Clustered Spires Golf Club Manager Don Frost

A former golf instructor accused of stealing from the city of Frederick received unemployment benefits after leaving the Clustered Spires Golf Club, according to testimony from the city’s manager of human resources.

Donald Frost, 51, was hired as club manager in 1996. He resigned in May 2015 as police and the city investigated theft and mismanagement at the golf club.

Frost was charged with two counts of a theft scheme dating to 2012 in Frederick County Circuit Court. If convicted of the more serious charge, he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

His trial, which has been rescheduled at least twice, is set to begin Oct. 17.

At a court hearing related to the case last month, the city’s manager of human resources, Kathryn Nicolato, testified that Frost received unemployment benefits after the city unsuccessfully argued against it at a state unemployment hearing.

Saundra Nickols, a city attorney, said she could not confirm or provide any information about unemployment payments because they qualify as a protected personnel issue.

Representatives of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation also declined to provide information specific to Frost for the same reasons.

Frost declined to comment on Tuesday.

Nicolato was surprised by the state’s decision in July 2015 to permit unemployment benefits to Frost, she said in a phone interview.

“We did appeal that decision by the state” based on the circumstances around the investigation, she said. “The decision is not ultimately the city’s. The decision is the state’s.”

While private employers pay into the unemployment system, municipalities do not. So, in general, the city is responsible for paying unemployment benefits to eligible employees, Nicolato said.

As a city employee, Frost’s 2015 salary was $86,230. He could also earn commissions on some of the services the course provided, The Frederick News-Post has reported.

The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation oversees unemployment benefits on a sliding scale that ranges from $50 to $430 per week, according to Deputy Secretary David McGlone.

People who receive unemployment benefits can collect them for up to 26 weeks, he said.

McGlone could not confirm that Frost had received benefits, so he could not say how much Frost may have received or how long his benefits may have lasted.

In unemployment cases that involve allegations of misconduct, McGlone said, the state has the flexibility to deny benefits to a person requesting them or to partially penalize them.

Theft can qualify as gross misconduct and can bar someone completely from receiving unemployment benefits, according to DLLR’s website.

Brian Maul, an area lawyer who has taken unemployment cases in the past, said that if an employer can prove theft, that would generally disqualify a person from receiving unemployment benefits.

The burden is on the employer to show misconduct, Nicolato said, noting that the standards for doing so in an unemployment hearing are different from those for proving wrongdoing in court.

Frederick Mayor Randy McClement did not return a request for comment.

Alderman Josh Bokee said McClement did not brief the aldermen about Frost’s benefits hearing, and the mayor would not be expected to share personnel matters with them.

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak, who was the first to bring forth documents about what she believed to be wrongdoing at the golf course, said she heard about the benefits “through the grapevine.”

“I heard it. I was pretty disgusted,” she said.

Follow Kelsi Loos on Twitter: @KelsiLoos.

(22) comments

beeantrim

Sum ting fishy in fredneck..

sofanna

Yeah, maybe the States Attorney General should get involved or maybe the Governor.

DickD

The employer pays insurance to the State for all of their employees, cost is based on the wages and how much unemployment insurance is given out to past employees.

http://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/empfaq.shtml

davis1968

Sounds like a misuse of the police and courts. This is the kind of garbage that jams our court system. Fire him if need be and move on. Besides, these city and state people are all in bed together, so no need to fain surprise on the unemployment perks.

sofanna

I agree regarding the misuse of police and courts. It was such a big deal and the trial keeps getting postponed? The FNP should be ashamed of continuing to report on this story until the REAL facts are brought before a judge. If the State of Maryland approved the unemployment and the City appealed and lost; I say to myself, "something isn't right here".

Fredmd21704

it is really sad that the FNP keeps writing stories about this, but the Tauraso story where he plead guilty was removed entirely in the search records. Why is that?

Eddie2

...but his form looks good!

sofanna

Not funny and I do have a sense of humor. This man and his family are suffering every time the trial is postponed by the City. Is the City purposefully trying to destroy this man? Where's the evidence? He is INNOCENT until proven guilty.

b1sellers

He is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty - but as we all know that isn't always the case. People in power can spin so much that he gets "convicted" in the press (and by commenters on articles) without having his due process in a court of law. But hey, we all have the freedom to basically say whatever we want - too bad a lot of people don't think before they speak. It's easy to sit back and judge (and have little facts or evidence) others. Sad.

sofanna

Citizens of the United States, this type of reporting is absurd. Why does the FNP continue to play a game with someone's life by writing disparaging articles like this? As said in previous comments, everyone is INNOCENT unless it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is proof of guilt.
Leave this man and his family alone. No more articles until you seriously have something to report. It's NO ONE'S business that he received unemployment.

krsfrederick

It depends on the type of case. I doubt this is a "beyond a shadow of doubt" type of case

elymus43

Maybe this matter will keep going until everyone forgets about It??? How comes the Mayor keeps silent on this matter?? This matter should have gone to court by now?? It's so many questions about this matter, but no answers. Donna K. is doing a good job.

Blueline

There's more to this story. If he "resigned" he should not have been eligible for UI benefits. Generally you have to be terminated to get UI.

Fredmd21704

until he has gone to trial and has been proven guilty, then he is innocent.

wran

I agree this is a totally vindictive position by the City of Frederick. I think this matter should be between Mr. Frost and the State, and the city should have no role in it.

gardenwhimsey

Wrong! An employee does not pay anything into unemployment. All unemployment money is paid by the employer. That is one of the reasons an employer can move to block the employee from receiving unemployment. It is probably why the accused has twice had the trial date changed....if he had been convicted before receiving the benefit, it could have been denied under "just cause." I hope that, if he is found guilty, he will be required to repay the State all of the unemployment money he received.

Fredmd21704

you are both wrong and wright, the employee and the employer pay into the unemployment insurance thru taxes. this isn't the reason why trials are delayed, factors cause trials to be delayed. he could only collect uninsurance for 26 weeks (read the article). If he is found guilty, he wouldn't have to pay it back, it would just stop. (education is key here)

Dwasserba

That was my thought too. If convicted maybe he should reimburse. If. We don't know. This is our system.

MrHitshed

This news is no surprise. Unemployment benefits are available under our system of laws to any person who is entitled to them. There is an administrative process that determines eligibility. Basically, workers who are discharged from employment are entitled to receive unemployment compensation unless they were discharged for wilfully misconduct. The employer has the burden to prove that in the administrative hearing. It is reasonable to conclude that the city was unable to do that in this case. That's why the former employee prevailed.

As you might imagine, proving the allegations in a case like this usually takes time and involves listening to witnesses and reviewing documents. A trial is pending, and if it happens it could take several days. These factors may explain why the city lost when it challenged this former employee's entitlement to unemployment benefits. Evidence that criminal charges are pending, and stories were printed in the paper, are not evidence of misconduct. Proof that someone stole money in a specific amount on a particular day is the kind of evidence required.

What seems very odd in this story is that the HR person disclosed the details about the unemployment claim, but the city attorney refused to because it was a personnel matter. What's up with that? Don't these two work for the same employer? Don't they talk to each other about sensitive matters like this?

Ken Johnston

I agree with the above comments, how is she "disgusted" that the guy needs unemployment? Vindictive, blasting him in the paper for this...

armillary

So the former golf pro hasn't been convicted of any crime, hasn't even been brought to trial, and the city is contesting his eligibility for unemployment. That sounds vindictive. Bring up his unemployment eligibility with DLLR if and when he's found guilty, not before.

DickD

Unless he lied on his application, I don't believe he would have to pay it back and it is the City's responsibility to agree or disagree with the State giving unemployment. The State then gives an opinion and let's the applicant know if the unemployment insurance was approved or not.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!