The Princeton theater community received a shock today as the State Attorney General’s office announced that The Princeton Triangle Club’s accountant for the last 20 years, Thomas John Muza, has been brought up on embezzlement charges. Muza allegedly took more than $100,000 from the student-run club at Princeton University.
The Princeton Triangle Club, which counts F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jimmy Stuart, David E. Kelly and Brooke Shields among its alumni, is the university’s celebrated, 123-year-old touring musical-comedy troupe. Muza received an annual salary of $4,000 as the club’s part-time accountant. The alleged thefts were uncovered by the law firm that serves as the club’s counsel.
Marc Segan, chairman of the Board of the Graduate Trustees of The Princeton Triangle Club, said, “This is a really, really sad and a really, really shocking thing. It’s not what you expect, and I think the AG had it right: the man was put in a considerable amount of trust and we were very disappointed… Everything else we have to leave to [the Attorney General’s office.]”
Muza has also served since 1990 as the general manager of McCarter Theatre, one of the state’s largest non-profit theater organizations, also located on the university’s campus. He was suspended from both his position at McCarter and terminated from his position as Triangle Club accountant on Nov. 19.
According to a press release issued by the office of Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman, the investigation so far has revealed “Muza allegedly stole more than $100,000 since the start of 2010 by writing Triangle Club checks directly to himself and depositing the checks into his personal bank account.”
Included in that sum is at least one instance in which Muza wrote a $30,000 Triangle Club check directly to his credit card company. Hoffman said, “When his personal finances got tight, Muza allegedly treated the club’s bank account like it was his own, stealing huge sums.”
The official charge levied against Muza is “second-degree theft by unlawful taking,” which carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000.
The investigation will continue and the Attorney General’s office may uncover more as it alleges the thefts began well before 2010. According to the Attorney General’s office, “[Muza] surrendered to detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice on Nov. 27 to be processed on the charge and was released on his own recognizance.”