The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 10, 2014

Hinton Little League funds vanish; officials turn books over to police

When debt collectors started calling the Hinton Little League Board of Directors last summer, they knew something must be terribly wrong.

Current board vice president Cris Meadows said the check written to pay for uniforms bounced, which should not have happened since each player pays a fee for uniforms.

“That money is supposed to be deposited,” Meadows said. “We found out that money wasn’t there.”

It was the second clue that something was wrong in the organization that fields 13 Little League teams, allowing 170 boys and girls in Summers County to play baseball during the spring and summer months.

Subsequently, the board held elections. The treasurer and the president were ousted after a dozen years, allowing new eyes to see bank statements, Meadows said.

“We could see there was about $300 in the account,” he continued. “Most of the checks had been written as reimbursement to one of the officers in the league.”

Meadows said he would not speculate about what happened to the money that is typically used to pay for, among other things, uniforms, maintenance and charter fees. The league generates $8,000 to $10,000 in revenue annually, he said.

When word of the shortfall spread through the community, donations came in to help pay for the uniforms, Meadows said, including a large donation from a local foundation and small donations from individuals.

“We had a huge outpouring of volunteers to get our field together (and to) work concessions,” he said. “I don’t know that this effort would have ever happened under the old leadership.”

Meadows said the books have been turned over to the Hinton Police Department for investigation. A call to the investigating officer for comment was not returned.

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