Unlike everything else sold at the city-run Clustered Spires Golf Course pro shop, the sale of golf grips was handled differently.
And the PGA golf pro now on trial on theft charges related to selling these grips made a “show of it,” according to court testimony on Tuesday.
Prosecutors contend that this allowed former manager Don Frost to run a “side business,” selling grips that were paid for by the city but keeping the money for himself. Frost’s attorneys, however, argue that grip sales were not entered into the sales system because installing the grips was considered a service, not a retail product.
The golf grips were not given a stock keeping unit, or SKU, number, which would have allowed the items to be tracked in the point of sale system, according to testimony given Tuesday in Frederick County Circuit Court. Golf grip sales were therefore not rung up on the pro shop’s cash register.
Frost, a 51-year-old golf pro from Dickerson, faces two counts of organizing a theft scheme that stem from accusations that he personally profited from sales of the golf grips, which were paid for by the city of Frederick, and that he also sold golf balls collected on the course for his own profit.
The thefts totaled roughly $30,000, prosecutors say.
On Tuesday, two former assistant golf pros said money from grip sales was kept in a box behind the counter. They said they watched Frost take money from the box.
“Sometimes he would make a little bit of a show of it,” former assistant golf pro Maureen Barolet said. He would “shake the box and try to guess how much was in there.”
Barolet later testified that Frost gave her cash from grip sales to put in the register. On Oct. 22, 2012, he gave her $150.94, she said.
On cross-examination, Frost’s attorney Alan Winik brought up other miscellaneous recorded sales that could possibly have been for grips.
Winik suggested that Frost frequently removed money from the box to pay a stipend owed to employees who put new grips on the clubs. Assistant golf pros earned $2 for each club they repaired, employees said.
Barolet said staff members who had earned that bonus did not have to wait long until they were paid.
During the annual inventory, grips were not counted as part of the stock, she said. Frost asked Barolet once or twice to “hide” the grips during inventory, she said. She later acknowledged, however, that city officials would still have access to the back room where the grips were placed.
Testimony also traced how city funds were used to stock the pro shop.
Frost was primarily responsible for generating purchase orders through the city, Barolet said.
Barolet and other employees were charged with checking orders against packing slips when inventory came in. The packing slips were signed to let the city purchasing department know that the invoiced items were received.
City Purchasing Manager Kandi Fullerton said Frederick can approve blanket purchase orders, which allow department heads to buy certain items as needed.
Department heads, such as Frost, could then order stock and later send the invoice and packing slip to the city’s purchasing department. The purchasing department would check the invoiced items against the signed packing slip, then send the invoice along to the finance department, which would write the check for the items.
In the case of the golf grips, Frost sent purchase orders to Baltimore Golf, according to the manager of that company, Mary Kennon.
Kennon said the payments her company received came from the city of Frederick.
If convicted of both theft charges, Frost faces up to 25 years and fines up to $25,000.
His trial was expected to continue through Friday. Attorneys indicated Tuesday that it will most likely go into next week.