Greg Willis, Japanese American Cultural Center CEO With Reported Criminal Past, Possibly At-Large

Willis.
Willis.
l'union

Updated at the bottom with Willis reportedly resigning. First posted at 5:42 p.m. We deleted an earlier version of this post that inadvertently got the CEO's first name wrong.

Turns out the guy the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) hired in January with much fanfare to lead the organization as its CEO is a French convict who engaged in theft, fraud and embezzlement, according to a French report today.

Oops?

An official at JACCC told the Weekly that Senor Willis did not show up for work today, either:

He hasn't come in today. He's still with the organization as far as I know.

This Facebook post by journalist Rachel Roh has tracked the situation and says Willis came in to his office in the morning, said ...

"It's been good working with you"; removed his personal items from his office and left the building, possibly for good.

Willis with JACCC chair Sandra Sakamoto.
Willis with JACCC chair Sandra Sakamoto.
Rachel Roh

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The French report (translated here) says Willis had been sentenced to five years behind bars for "misuse of corporate assets" after an automotive supplier he took over apparently went belly up.

The Facebook account alleges Willis has been on the run -- the subject of an international arrest warrant -- and was confronted recently by JACCC's board over his past (and he reportedly admitted said past). The account says a JACCC employee found out about Willis via ... Google search.

Really.

Willis is said to be a former Toyota Motor Credit Corp. vice president who was chosen by JACCC after " ... a nine-member search committee and professional search firm conducted an extensive national search."

[Update at 8:22 p.m.]: A source tells us Willis has resigned from JACCC and that board chair Sandra Sakamoto will take over his duties under the title of executive director.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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