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WR Little League missing $10,000 | News

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WR Little League missing $10,000

The Houston County Sheriff's Office is investigating more than $10,000 missing and along with unauthorized credit card purchases from the Warner Robins American Little League.

WRALL President Cliff Rushin and Treasurer Carrie O'Brien filed a report Saturday with the sheriff's office.

The report says the league's cash fund of more than $10,000 was gone. Rushin and O'Brien said they discovered the large amount of money missing after a recent board meeting.

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They also reported unauthorized purchases on league credit cards, to stores such as Lowes in Kathleen and Dunkin Donuts.

According to the report, former WRALL president Joseph Stella admitted using the card to buy things for his home and renovations.

He and League Vice President of Softball Darin McDowell had WRALL credit cards in their possession, the report said.

The board removed Stella and McDowell from the board last week, and gave them 30 days to make restitution, prior to filing a report with the Houston County Sheriff's Office.

WRALL board president released the following statement:

Warner Robins American Little League has a long and successful history of serving our community. We are proud of what our children have accomplished over the years, and the Board of Directors takes all aspects of our work seriously.

Recently, the Board began an internal investigation into allegations that two of our Board members misappropriated funds in multiple ways for their personal gain. As a result of the investigation, the Board made a decision to turn the matter over to the Houston County Sheriff's Department to investigate this matter further, and this matter is now in their hands. Furthermore, both members have resigned from their positions on the Board and have been subsequently banned from Warner Robins American Little League. We will not be able to address any specific questions until the investigation is complete.

Since learning of the situation, and in order to protect WRALL for the long term, we have made several improvements, including the strengthening of our financial verification and tracking procedures. The expenditures in question will not hinder our operations and commitment in any way.

Warner Robins American will continue to promote an atmosphere of integrity, teamwork and sportsmanship. We remain committed to the development and growth of our youth and the community.

The report also says that the board decided that Stella and McDowell will be banned from all WRALL events for life.

Current president Cliff Rushin also contacted the District Attorney's office about the problem, prior to going to police.

Captain Jon Holland with the Sheriff's Office said they are actively investigating the case, but so far, no one has been charged.

Reached by phone, Rushin said the board initially did not file a report on the case, but decided over the weekend, that doing so was, "in the best interest of the league."

He said the matter had been turned over to the sheriff's office and the National Little League Headquarters.

Rushin said he intended to notify WRALL parents about the issue Monday through an e-mail.

By email, Brian McClintock, spokesman for the Little League headquarters in Williamsport, PA, declined comment because the case is under investigation.

Former board member and coach that took the Little League All-Stars to a World Series title in 2007, Mickey Lay, called it "a sad day for the league."

Longtime donor and supporter, Mark Byrd, called the allegations about the two individuals "disappointing." He went to say, "I commend the other board members for doing the right thing, and taking the information to authorities."


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