PEABODY (CBS) — The president of the Peabody Youth Football & Cheering League was forced to resign amidst serious allegations about mishandling the program’s money.
The WBZ I-Team has also learned the league’s financial records have been turned over to police. Shawn Hubauer, president of the Northeast Conference Youth Football & Cheering League (NECYFL), confirmed the developments over the phone Saturday afternoon.
“I’m speechless and sickened by it,” Hubauer said. “I haven’t slept in two days. I feel so terrible about what’s happened.”
On Tuesday, the WBZ I-Team investigation uncovered thousands of dollars in questionable expenses.
Peabody’s league president, Jacqui Pence, had refused to provide any answers about the discrepancies. After the initial WBZ report, Pence sent a letter to parents that acknowledged the problems but still did not shed any light on the growing controversy.
After repeated demands to see the league’s books, Hubauer said Pence finally turned them over on Friday night. It only took moments for Hubauer to realize he needed to give the 64 pages of bank account records to authorities.
“There were many, many inconsistencies,” he said. “It scared the hell out of me.”
Hubauer declined to go into specifics about questionable transactions, but he told WBZ the league’s bank account only has $1,000 remaining after paying referees for Saturday’s games. The league should have generated about $50,000 from registration fees alone this season.
Pence has been in charge of league finances since March 2013. Hubauer said there is also an undetermined amount of cash that is unaccounted for: revenue from snack bar sales at home games. He estimated that can generate $25,000 to $35,000 per year.
The rest of the board of directors was forced to resigned, too. Hubauer said Pence’s brother and vice president of the league, Steven O’Hara, will be allowed to continue his coaching duties. It is unclear if anybody other than Pence had access to the league’s bank account, he said.
A group of seven parents will now act as trustees to maintain solvency through the rest of the season. They will eventually be charged with electing a new board of directors.
Several other North Shore communities participate in the NECYFL with Peabody. Hubauer said those leagues will work to make sure kids in the Peabody program are taken care of for the remainder of the season. The issue will be discussed at a meeting on Monday night.
One of the first parents to contact the WBZ I-Team said she is relieved the league can begin to rebuild.
“The kids deserve better than what they have been given over the past three years and I’m looking forward to parents stepping in to raise much-needed funds,” she said. “I hope this raises awareness for other families and coaches in other communities to ask questions when things seem off and demand transparency when those questions are not answered.”
Ryan Kath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.