The Gonzales Police Department has received a complaint from the Gonzales Little League board of directors regarding the alleged embezzlement of funds by a now-former board member from the youth sports organization.
Also, The Gonzales Inquirer has obtain through a records request the financial statement the city council requested as a requirement for the league to use the city-owned fields this season.
No charges have been filed and no arrest made in connection with the case, according to Lt. Jason Montoya, who added that at present there is one suspect. The amount of the alleged theft will not be known until the audit is completed.
The Inquirer will not publish the name of any suspect until charges are filed and an arrest warrant issued.
Dane King, the board’s new vice-president, said the board is in possession of a signed confession regarding the embezzlement of league funds. The league is cooperating with law enforcement on in the investigation, King said.
Montoya said the department is investigating the case and is awaiting the results of a financial audit being conducted by an independent third-party firm at the behest of the league.
“The gears are turning, but it could take awhile,” Montoya said. “It is possible this goes back to 2016.”
Montoya said – as is common with any embezzlement or theft investigation – police need to determine if there was more than one person involved.
“We need to speak to the suspect and other people to take statements,” Montoya said.
The 13-member board held a meeting on May 2, that included 12 new board members. The only remaining member from the previous board is its president, Gary Clack.
In addition to King new board officers are: D’Anna Culak Robinson (treasurer), Krystal Navejar (secretary), and Josh Gray (Player Agent). Board members are: Jesse Casares, Ryan Arrellano, Johnathan Carrizales, Ray Raley, Kristen Meeh, Ernest Garza, Taylor Davis and Manuel Magallanes
The board will hold its next meeting at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 23 at the Graham Land and Cattle Co. Board Room, 3772 N. Highway 183 in Gonzales. The public is invited.
“We are committed to full transparency in all of our actions,” King said.
That includes a future presentation to the Gonzales City Council and a public forum.
“We want everything to be completely transparent,” King said. “We are getting things set up the right way.”
The new board already established a new Facebook page under “The Gonzales Little League.” It replaces the “Gonzales Little League” page that has not had a post since April 27.
Unlike the previous page, the new Facebook page lists all of the board members and has schedules for all games posted. The page has been active with updates on schedule changes, its upcoming meeting, and even a post thanking its volunteers.
Gonzales Little League uses city-owned fields at Independence Park. Earlier in the year, the city council unanimously voted to require the league to provide proof of insurance and financial statements in order to use the fields in 2021.
Both documents were provided to the city, according City Manager Tim Patek. The documents were provided by the former board prior to the allegation of embezzlement coming to light. The Inquirer has received the two-page document, called "Balance Sheet as of Feb. 28, 2021."
The report shows a $11,450 balance in the checking accoun, which matches llisted income of registration fees rolled over from cancelled 2020 season ($8,950), sponsorship of shirts rolled over from 2020 ($2,100) and sponsorship banner fees from 2020 ($400).
A list of 11 expense items each showed no balance, leaving a net income of $11,450.
Noted on the second page is:
"With the cancellation of the Little League for the 2020 season the Little League only incurred the following expenses for the 2020 cancelled season.
"$3,239.07 - Charter fees and Insurance
"$170.17 - Printing fees for Registration packets and volunteer forms.
"The Little League did receive some income with preregistration and some sponsors that sent in money prior to the cnacelation and those amounts were rolld over to the 2021 Lilttle League season."
There is no reference to refunds for parents whose children aged out of Little League this year and were unable to play last year after paying fees.
Outgoing District 2 councilman District 2 Councilman Tommy Schurig made the motion to require the financial statements. He told The Inquirer that he has reviewed the documents received.
Schurig said that the value depicted in the financial report presented to the Council was $11,500, which was not broken down by individual expenses like concessions.
Schurig cited instances of the Little League board running out of items like chalk, and having a broken popcorn machine, and not replacing or repairing them due to a lack of funds. Schurig also said that registration fees no longer covered a shirt and baseball cap as it had in the past, with children having only been provided shirts.
“Parents have been calling me, and I don’t have an answer to give them,” Schurig said. “It’s real secretive, they (the previous board) won’t give you any kind of information.”
Mayor Connie Kacir said: “The city will not make a comment regarding any allegations of embezzlement or misappropriation of funds by Little League due to contemplated or pending litigation.
“The council requested financials as a matter of defining that the use of public property was meeting statutory requirements for serving the public.”
District 4 Councilman Rob Brown told The Inquirer that the financial statements provided did not show any embezzlement of funds.