The possible loss of undisclosed funds from the Oakdale Youth Soccer League has been reported to the Oakdale Police Department according to representatives from the 600-member league.
OYSL Board Member Ami Poncabare stated that after receiving complaints from parents and discovering a variance in their books, the board of directors authorized an audit of their accounts. On March 17 the findings of the audit were presented to the board and a police report was made to the Oakdale Police Department on March 18.
Oakdale Police Detective Aaron Beatty confirmed police were conducting an investigation and a person affiliated with the board of directors was named by the OYSL when the report was made.
Sergeant Joe Johnson added that because the case was under investigation, and it was early in the process, the department could not provide further details.
A source close to the investigation reported the loss was close to $2,500.
Poncabare, who stated she recently came on the board earlier this year because of some of the board’s prior actions that she disagreed with, explained that part of the discrepancy in the missing funds surrounded a fundraiser where parents sold sports cups as part of money to cover costs for registration and league fees.
Several parents have since complained that the cups still have not been delivered, despite turning over the money in November 2015.
“Those of us on the board are working diligently to get the cups into the hands of those that ordered them,” Poncabare said. “We appreciate the community’s patience and want to ensure the fundraiser is completed.”
But some parents are saying the financial mismanagement was not limited to the fundraiser.
“The situation has gotten so out of hand,” said Ian Ryland, a coach and parent of children in the league. “Checks have been bounced to uniform vendors as well as referees and some vendors haven’t been getting paid.”
Ryland said he has been complaining for months and he, along with some other parents, has urged the board to open up the league’s books for examination to determine if the lack of funds is due to a criminal act or just mismanagement.
“When I brought up to see the finances, I was put off,” Ryland said.
He said OYSL has one of the highest registration fees at $130 a year, and with 500 to 600 participants, over $75,000 needs to be accounted for legitimately.
In addition to the finances, Ryland questioned how the board has operated within the last few months. He claims that March 1 the board was to have an election for board positions. In lieu of the election, he said the board held a closed door meeting where current board members were just “shuffled” to different positions.
“This was all done behind closed doors,” Ryland said. “It just screams cover-up. Mark my words; they’ll throw someone under the bus in this and walk away.”
Cherilyn Bairos, a city councilwoman and long-time member as a coach and former player within the OYSL said she knew of the allegations with the board and missing funds, but would not comment.
“The league is rebuilding and I’m looking forward to a great season,” Bairos said.
When contacted for comment, board representatives advised they were withholding any further statements so as not to interfere with the police investigation.
“We will work with Oakdale Police Department regarding their investigation,” said Poncabare. “Trust in the process and look forward to our program’s future state.”
The Oakdale Youth Soccer League is a non-profit organization, part of District 8 in the California Youth Soccer Association. The organization provides an opportunity for children in Oakdale and the surrounding communities to learn and play soccer. In 2015 the organization had approximately 600 players participate in the recreational league.
The next board of directors meeting is April 7, where Ryland stated he plans to again address the board about the missing funds and their subsequent actions.