They are known for their circuses and helping children around the world with medical needs. Now, a local Shriners organization must defend its reputation after being accused of hiring prostitutes.That allegation comes from its former Chief of Staff, who is now suing the Shriners. But that's not the only lawsuit - the Shriners say they fired the now former employee because they claim he embezzled at least a $1 million.

Bob Swartwood is a long-time member of the Shiners organization. He's also the group's general counsel and spokesman. He says the board of directors became suspicious of the former Chief of Staff Nick Singelis after $1 million of the groups money was unaccounted for. "A lot of money was being spent allegedly to promote our circuses and when Mr. Singelis was approached and asked for receipts and explanation, what we got was not satisfactory."

The Shriners filed a civil lawsuit earlier this year, accusing Singelis and former member Craig Hatch of embezzlement, conversion, and conspiracy. Attorneys George Hamo and Gregory Gibbs claim their client was fired because he was getting ready to tell authorities about sexual activity that he claims took place at Circus Park in November of 2012.

Swartwood said their case is strong and hopes in the end the allegations don't tarnish the Shiners reputation. Swartwood says they expect criminal embezzlements charges to come soon against both Nick Singelis and Craig Hatch.
ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI