Trip Money?

Posted by J. J. in Phila on January 26, 2011 

            There is a bit of breaking news in the disappearance of former Centre County District Attorney, Ray Gricar.  Sort of.  Well, maybe a bit stronger confirmation of a few things.  Yesterday, family spokesman Tony Gricar spoke to the press.  That is a minor, but welcome, note.  He said two things that are of some importance, but in terms of evidence and the public case.

            First, in terms of evidence, this is what Tony Gricar said:

According to Tony Gricar, the one thing that never made sense to police was his uncle's financial situation.
"He was making a fair amount of money; but, at least from a forensic accounting standpoint, the thought is there that there should have been more cash," he said. "But, for somebody from his generation, which [preferred to] deal in cash, what is the appropriate amount that should be sitting in an account?"


            For a long time, Mr. Gricar’s assets have been a subject of debate among followers of the case.  One of the earliest references was in “Missed Leads,” where close friend and co-worker, then Assistant District Attorney Steve Sloane said, when told of the relatively low assets, “"He [Mr. Gricar] should have had more money than that, I would think. He wasn't into investing. He wasn't very into 401(k)s or IRAs."2

            I’ve looked at it, almost two years ago, and noted that Mr. Gricar seemed not to have the assets that he should; that blog is here:  Income and Assets  In the summer of 2009, I also looked at the least weak evidence (I repeated and expanded this last November).  The lack of assets is one element of that least weak evidence, but I noted:  “We, you and I, are on the outside looking in when it comes to the finances; the data is not public.  There are numerous red flags, but there could be reasonable explanations for them.”3  The chattering class has offered suggested explanations, e.g. Mr. Gricar paid for his daughter’s college, or her horseback riding hobby; it is possible, but anything along those lines would produce receipts and would be easily accounted for by a forensic audit.  It hasn’t, according to what Tony Gricar said.  The people that are not outsiders are saying that there should be more assets.

            I’ve also talked to people that knew Mr. Gricar and people that have talked to people that knew him well; Mr. Gricar used a credit card for most purchases, even routine ones.  We might expect about $5,000 per year to be legitimately not accountable, i.e. he decided to pay for dinner, groceries, gas, and even some items of clothing, but that should be expected in an audit of Mr. Gricar’s personal accounts. 

Neither Tony Gricar nor law enforcement are saying how much more, forensically, Mr. Gricar’s assets should be.  There probably, just reading between the lines, is enough to finance an initial voluntary departure; this would not be too expensive.  Is it enough to finance a new life someplace else?  I don’t know.

Even with this confirmation of unaccounted for missing assets, this would not constitute proof that Mr. Gricar voluntarily departed.  There can be other reasons to shelter assets.  It was indicated that the reason Mr. Gricar put the Mini cooper into his girlfriend’s name was to protect it in case he was sued.  This, at least so far as I know, hypothetical lawsuit, would likely be related to his personal life, not his professional

one.4 Still, assets that don’t seem to be there would point to Mr. Gricar being able to financing his own disappearance.

            In the terms of the public case, I’ve looked at the family position on Mr. Gricar’s disappearance, noting that, “The family position has shifted subtly.”5  At the second anniversary of the disappearance, Tony Gricar said,  "Neither one of us [Tony and Lara Gricar] believe he is still alive."6  This week, when asked if he thought his uncle was alive, Tony Gricar said, "Alive? Hell, I don't know."1

            Subtle enough for you?

End Notes



3 The Least Weak Evidence

4  Liability and the Mini Cooper




E-mail J. J. in Phila at

Centre Daily Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service