Thanks in large part to several generous donations from area residents, Dewey-Humboldt Little League (DHLL) is now operating in the black some two months after the league's former treasurer admitted to stealing more than $7,200 from its coffers.
The league ultimately lost much more than the aforementioned $7,200-plus, outgoing D-H Little League President Dale Poole said, primarily because of bank fees that arose from bounced checks written by ex-treasurer Dawn Whitaker.
In mid-May, as part of a plea agreement made shortly after Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Whitaker on suspicion of theft and fraudulent schemes, Yavapai County Superior Court in Camp Verde ordered her to serve six months in jail and several years of probation, Whitaker's defense attorney Jeff McNeice said.
McNeice added that the court also ordered Whitaker to return to D-H Little League all of the money she stole, plus the associated costs.
Poole said he still plans to pursue charges against Dawn's husband, Chris Whitaker. A YCSO report written at the time of the incident in mid-May stated that Dawn wrote 12 checks to Chris using the league's account.
Poole added Thursday that the league's insurance policy will cover all but about $1,000 of the total losses that the league and its 185 registered baseball and softball players learned they suffered in May.
"We've been able to not only recoup what we've lost, but we're actually going to be ahead," he said. "I'm speechless, I guess you could say. It was a big negative that's turned into an even bigger positive."
Upon learning of the league's newfound struggles, officials from other area little leagues, including Prescott's, later gave money to DHLL to assist it in recouping some of its losses.
Prescott Little League President Jerry Mora said his league donated $742 to DHLL on June 7, shortly after gathering the cash from fans at the conclusion of its end-of-the-season majors tournament at Bill Vallely Field.
Mora credited longtime Prescott resident Cal Cordes for spearheading the fundraising effort.
"We just wanted to help out Dewey-Humboldt," Mora said. "They were awful grateful. They would've done that for us."
Chino Valley Little League delivered $500 to DHLL, Poole added.
In addition, on June 9 at Mortimer Farms, on the former Young's Farm property at the corner of highways 69 and 169, Prescott Valley Police Detective Danny Oen organized a yard sale/car wash that generated $3,657 for the league.
DHLL has also received donations from several community members.
"It really touched my heart to see all these people calling me, donating items to the yard sale, and just expressing their anger and their disappointment in what happened, and their support for the kids," Poole said. "It's just overwhelming, and gratifying."
Due to those efforts, Poole said, DHLL was able to field four all-star teams for the 2012 postseason. In fact, its minors' softball squad recently advanced to the little league state tournament in Tucson, where they will start play July 16.
Current DHLL Vice President Scott Beaudette, who will likely be the league's incoming president beginning in 2013, said the league would not have recovered without D-H residents' and the neighboring communities' generosity.
"It's been really amazing, but we're back on our feet," he said. "We ended up with a lot more than we thought we would, just with the donations alone. They equaled, if not passed, the amount lost.
"Seeing that the community has come forward and is willing to trust us to reestablish the credibility of the league has given me the obligation to come back even stronger than before and make as many improvements as I can and continue to provide the facilities for these kids to go out and play baseball."
Despite the donations, Poole added that DHLL will still conduct its annual candy fundraiser, and it plans to offer a spaghetti dinner to generate more money. Earlier this year, the league sponsored a spaghetti dinner that raised nearly $1,000.
"I just want to thank all of the community, all of the members of the quad-city area and Camp Verde, for helping us with the yard sale and donating money," Poole said. "That shows there are still caring people out there who really care about the kids."
Beaudette said DHLL also plans to start up Fall Ball play in August for those athletes in the town, which is located several miles east of Prescott Valley, who are "really dedicated" to the sport. For more information about Fall Ball in D-H, call Beaudette at 928-848-6718.
Posted: Saturday, July 07, 2012
Article comment by:
I'm glad for the DHLL that this turned out OK. When Mr. Poole notified me that this happened I like everyone else was shocked. This is really not an unusual happening but when it hits home and effects so many local people and families it hurts.
Mr. Poole did an outstanding job in handleing this situation. He was embarassed because it happened on his watch, but was open by notifing everyone envolved and taking the appropiate action.
I am proud of this community and the surronding communities for jumping in and supporting the league and responding in a positive way. Thank you all.