John Bitter Selling Arizona Bar to Pay Restitution to Santa Clara Swim Club

Former Santa Clara Swim Club CEO and head coach John Bitter is working to sell his Arizona bar in order to pay restitution to the club from which he admitted to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Silicon Valley Voice reported Saturday.

Bitter was fired from SCSC in late 2018 and later handed four felony charges. He was arrested in April, and in October, Bitter admitted to embezzling at least $500,000 in SCSC money and using it to purchase the Tipsy Coyote Bar and Grill in Scottsdale, Arizona. Investigators found that he bought the bar for $750,000, $300,000 of which came from a loan taken out in the club’s name.

Bitter appeared in a Santa Clara County courtroom Thursday for sentencing, but the judge agreed to postpone sentencing until March 27 at his camp’s request. On his way out of the courtroom, Bitter issued an apology to SCSC.

“I’m very sorry for what I did. I’m honestly very sorry for what I did,” Bitter said, according to the Silicon Valley Voice. “I wake up every day knowing I did something that I shouldn’t have done and my goal is to make the restitution necessary.”

In September, Bitter pleaded no contest to felony charges of embezzlement, grand theft and forgery. He is facing a prison sentence of no more than five years and eight months. Should Bitter pay full restitution, the judge could issue a lighter sentence — potentially without prison time.

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Swim Lyfe
3 years ago

John Bitter was just sentenced to at least 3 years in prison on March 3rd of 2021. Source: Public Conference Call for Department 41 of the Hall of Justice court proceedings.

3 years ago

SCSC is was recruiting hub under his lead. They regularly used hiring practices as a tool to inherit coaches and talent from other local teams that might develop into a threat to their youth non-profit organization.
I am sure Bitter is far from broke and destitute. Sounds like he is doing great. He won’t do jail time. There is no detail in who he is selling the bar to, perhaps a friend or partner. Who knows it might yeild a massive return on the investment. . He still has 2 homes in the most wealthy communities in which he is on home arrest …what a joke. Its not white privilege, it freemason hook up.

He will easily sell a… Read more »

3 years ago

anyways, i knew john personally and swam for him. he was a great guy besides this obvious mistake he made. to be honest he spoiled his swimmers and the team was never hurting by any means from his mishaps. i am not justifying theft or embezzlement but i believe every one deserves at least one second chance in this country!

4 years ago

No one’s paying for this crime except the membership & the staff who have endured the aftermath. John was able to steal the money and financially benefit from doing so, assuming that bar has been making money this whole time. And the board chose to sit silently by while keep professional credibility as finance & HR professionals. Even if he does end up getting some jail time, it’s minimal punishment that doesn’t fit the crime.

Reply to  Kim
4 years ago

The Board at SCSC sucks. John destroyed relationships and the staff and swimmers at SCSC are the ones suffering. Kudos to those that stuck around and here’s to hoping that they are empowered to do their jobs.

4 years ago

Just have him run the Tipsy Coyote, build a pool in the back, make it a club extension, win!

4 years ago

I was going to post sarcastically that Bitter shouldn’t have to sell the bar because he has suffered enough but apparently this is the Bizarro thread.

4 years ago

What a tragedy. For those who have read the classic “Gold in the Water” (and for those who have not, mikeh orders you to log off right now and read it), the book details a financial scandal at the Santa Clara Swim Club around 1999-2000. Unpaid taxes, missing money, etc. From the book’s account, it was a major distraction leading up to Olympic Trials.

4 years ago

On what planet do you steal hundreds of thousands and potentially not do anytime?

Reply to  Lpman
4 years ago

Go talk to a forensic accountant. Their stories will absolutely amaze and infuriate.

Reply to  Lpman
4 years ago

The same planet where the geniuses behind the 2008 financial crisis didn’t do any time.

Reply to  Lpman
3 years ago

USA and possibly china

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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