The newly released findings about the A.C. Flora Booster Club’s finances are more critical than the club is saying and don’t answer key questions, the two fathers who first questioned the club almost two years ago said Monday.
The state Attorney General’s office wrote a letter to club leaders after a 6-month investigation which found no evidence of misappropriation or misuse of money. The booster club released the Aug. 7 letter Monday and said in a statement and an interview with its new president that the probe exonerated the club’s practices.
The two fathers don’t agree with that.
“The statement by the booster club paints a sunnier picture than what was in the AG letter,” said Craig Freeman, one of the parents who began asking to see the club’s books in late summer 2015.
Freeman’s reading of the letter is that investigators could not reach a final conclusion because, “There were numerous holes in the bookkeeping.
“I’m not the arbiter of justice here,” he said. “It’s the AG’s office that makes the determination of what can be proven.”
The attorney general’s office isn’t discussing the case, citing a state law that it says bars disclosure of its findings or the information the office gathered during the investigation.
Wes Few, an attorney who teamed with Freeman in questioning the club’s finances, also disputes the club’s assertion that the findings amount to a clean bill of health.
“It’s not a clean bill of health because they (the attorney general’s office) said, ‘We want to see more from you within 90 days.’”
Few is referring to a portion of the letter from Assistant Deputy Attorney General Jared Libet which said his office would close the case after the club provides an update on bookkeeping and other changes requested by the state and suggestions from an accounting firm the club hired last year.
Few also said the club and Flora’s former principal promised him access to the club’s books. “I still haven’t seen the records that I was promised on Sept. 18, 2015,” Few said of a meeting with the school’s athletics director, baseball coach and principal.
In addition, Few said parents still have not received an accurate accounting of what he says is more than $32,000 spent on a baseball team locker room that was never built.
He said he received “at least three different” accountings for the locker room from the school, the baseball coach or the club.
“So the bottom line is it looks like over $32,000 was raised for the locker room and it’s gone, the project is no longer an active project,” Few said.
Efforts Monday by The State newspaper to get a response from the city of Forest Acres, which provided the baseball program with nearly $500,000 in tax money over a dozen years, were unsuccessful.