The investigation is now in the hands of Shiawassee County Prosecutor Deana Finnegan. She is working with OPS Detective Sargent Rusty Lamay, who has been handling the case.
“Obviously this is a sad day for all of us here at SRI. We had every reason to trust Mary. It’s a very unfortunate set of circumstances,” said Steam Railroading Institute Executive Director Kim Springsdorf. “We’ll continue to work closely with the authorities to bring justice to this situation.”
Springsdorf explained that Lombardo was instructed by the board at its July 2018 meeting to turn over missing documentation and work with a third-party bookkeeper to provide Springsdorf and AHP what it would need for the audit.
Unfortunately, she did not comply but instead allegedly wiped clean SRI’s accounting system while Springsdorf was on vacation the following week, also allegedly doing her best to erase any paper trails. SRI officials say Lombardo then resigned before Springsdorf returned from vacation.
Lombardo and other staff had stepped forward to take on more responsibilities while Springsdorf was dealing with an extended personal illness in 2017 and early 2018.
“It’s still hard to believe she would take advantage of that situation; a time when our whole team was pulling together to ensure everything continued to run smoothly for our patrons, staff and volunteers,” continued Springsdorf.
New accounting practices have been put into place since last summer to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again, according to Springsdorf.
“We sincerely our hope that our followers will understand this terribly unfortunate situation is not representative of the integrity of the Steam Railroading Institute and who we are as an organization,” she shared.
Because the investigation is still ongoing, more details may emerge that could be announced later. No one else related to SRI is being investigated.
“The good news is we are the strongest we’ve ever been as an organization. We’re very stable financially, even with the embezzlement. We continue to build partnerships with communities and organizations so we can expand our programming and fulfill our mission of keeping steam-era railroading alive for future generations,” added Springsdorf, who joined the organization in 2015 when it was in serious financial trouble. “I’m proud of the people who work and volunteer here. I’m thankful for our members, donors, railroad industry partners and our community for their ongoing support.”