Big problems with little baseball league - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Big problems with little baseball league

Albany--  City commissioners are investigating at least two Dixie Youth Baseball leaders for mis-using money. They've already been suspended, but now the city attorney is looking into whether criminal charges should be filed.

City Commissioner Tommy Postell said, "The city is trying to go through the city attorney to find out where the money is and how it was spent, after it was allocated."

In November 2003, the City Manager agreed to give the Gillespie and International leagues $7,000 each to pay umpires. But Commissioner Tommy Postell says former Gillespie League President Kenny Florence and coach Freddie Chamberlain didn't pay all of its umpires and mis-used the rest of money.

He and Commissioner Bo Dorough claim Chamberlain overcharged the city for umpires and used the rest of the money to pay a woman to cook for the players. And, the rest of the money? "As for where the money is, we don't know because we didn't receive any validity as to how it was dispensed."

Florence and Chamberlain were suspended from the league, but Chamberlain says he didn't do anything wrong. "I only added $5 in per game to reimburse this lady for buying all the food, making all the agendas and for her time."

Postell says Chamberlain didn't have the right to do that. "That wasn't what those checks were for, they were basically for officiating." The city is also investigating whether Chamberlain used the league's charity identification number to buy supplies at the Food Bank. Supplies like diapers, no 12 year baseball players would need.

Chamberlain says they were for the volunteers. "Some of the girls that came out there and helped us with the tutoring had babies. That's how we paid them for helping the kids with their homework."

Still, city commissioners have their doubts. "The city attorney will determine if it's criminal or not, then he'll make some recommendation to the commission."

Postell says if Chamberlain and Florence did misuse the money the real loser of this game are the kids.

So far no criminal charges have been filed against Freddie Chamberlain and Kenny Florence. Chamberlain says he's considering suing the city for suspending him from the league. He says the check was made out to the league, and he never saw a cent of the money.

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