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Parents query management of Sterling-based youth basketball league

A group of parents and coaches involved with a Sterling-based basketball league say they are concerned the popular children's league is being mismanaged.

Seneca Ridge River Bend Basketball League (SRRBBL) is a nonprofit organization for children in grades three through eight.

Parent Brian Piccioni, along with a former coach and member and a current coach and member, who both wanted to remain anonymous over fears of recriminations against their children, spoke to the Times-Mirror about concerns that the league's financial management doesn't add up. Information gathered by the group has now been handed over to authorities to investigate.

Tax records and allegations of financial mismanagement

The trio and other concerned parties have looked at the league's public tax records and believe there are serious discrepancies.

Tax year filings for 2011, when the league was under a previous SRRBBL board, show the league made a total gross income of $96,472, and the expenses were $82,651.

Between 2012 and 2015, the new SRRBBL board filed a different style of tax form, Form 990N, as a opposed to Form 990 under the previous board. The postcard-style tax form does not include a detailed financial breakdown.

On each tax filing between 2012 and 2015 the board claimed gross income below $50,000.

Questions have been raised as to how the league's gross income dropped to less than $50,000 from over $96,000 the year before, a drop of over $46,000.

Shortly before the scheduled board election this April, SRRBBL Commissioner Anton Perkins provided the league's high level profit and loss (P&L) statement for the 2016-2017. The statement shows $87,000 in gross income and expenses of $80,650.

Piccioni, who has a professional finance background, says the statement raises more questions than answers.

He says in his experience the statement isn't in line with traditional P&L's. For example, the league's P&L included future expenses, whereas Piccioni states P&L's don't normally contain that kind of information.

The amounts are also rounded to the nearest 50 or 100. Again Piccioni says this isn't normal for “proper financial records.”

These allegations were put to SRRBBL's attorney Robert Showers. When asked about the apparent discrepancies between 2011 and 2012, Showers said, “As I understand it Mr Perkins didn't come on board until 2013 or 2014.”

However, the 2012 tax form Form 990N lists Perkins as principal officer.

Additionally, bankruptcy records show on April 15, 2013, Perkins had a lien placed on his property of $63,402.23.

In a prepared statement, Perkins said, “several individuals have been trying to make trouble for the league since being dismissed as volunteers. I have been personally threatened due to this type of harassment, which is alarming. No one should be threatened at any time, especially on matters such as this. We are a complete volunteer organization trying to teach children how to play basketball and have good values in the process, and we appreciate all parents who cooperate and exhibit such attributes.”

Questions over conflicts of interest

Perkins also has a company called The Horizon Institute of Sports Technology and the Arts (HISTA). When asked if HISTA a separate entity from SRRBBL, Showers said they are “not related at all.”

But others involved in the league say SRRBBL is doing business with the SRRBBL commissioner's private company. They cite the 2015-2016 SRRBBL season webpage where it states, “Are you buying your child a new pair of basketball shoes for the season? Before you do, please email us after register and you will get a 25 percent discount off of the latest brand of ADIDAS (Derek Rose) or Upper Armor products from the Horizon Institute, our nonprofit partner.

In addition, the commissioner has been criticized for using the SRRBBL email distribution list to sell his own music on iTunes and Amazon. One of the tracks, titled “Sex is not enough,” caused discomfort among some league parents due to the title and subject matter of the song.

Player number discrepancies

Could the change in the league's gross income be caused by fluctuations in player numbers? The Times-Mirror contacted Perkins and asked him if the numbers of children registering with SRRBBL increased, decreased or stayed the same over the last six years? He did not directly respond to the question.

Piccioni, other concerned parents and coaches said they have cross-referenced the numbers of children with the amount of gross income reported for each tax year.

SRRBBL uses the Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community's facilities.

For gross income to drop from $96,472 in 2011 to $50,000 in 2012, there would need to be 368 less children registering with the league, concerned parents say. According to their research, the number of players reported to PRCS for 2012 was 689, up 135 from the the previous year when gross income was $96,472.

Likewise it is claimed that SRRBBL grew its number of players from 2011 to 2012 and again from 2012 to 2013.

Judging by SRRBBL's 2016 P&L's sheet, for the league's gross income to grow to $87,000, 296 additional children would need to have registered as players in 2016 compared to the previous year.

On May 31 of this year, it emerged that the SRRBBL Board told PRCS that there were a total of 668 children in all of SRRBBL with an average of six players per team.

In disbelief, concerned SRRBBL coaches and members reached out to other coaches, assistant coaches and divisional coordinators.

They managed to reach all divisions bar three, so in those teams where the numbers couldn't be verified it was conservatively assumed six kids played per team. Nevertheless those involved in collating the numbers said the number of 668 couldn't be correct. Based on analysis compiled by individuals involved in managing team players, the total number of children in SRRBBL was found to be at least 828. If that were the case then the amount of gross income claimed by the SRRBBL board of $87,000 would have to be at least $103,500, assuming early registration fees of $125.

On May 31 concerned SRRBBL coaches and members reached out to Dave Carver at PRCS to point out the number of players discrepancy. On June 22 it was discovered there had been a missing check from SRRBBL for $2,312.50 sent out by the league to PRCS in December 2017 that was never cashed.

The concerned parents said they were told the check was addressed to a staff person who left and may have been misdirected.

Piccioni is skeptical and points out the additional check of $2,312.50 is not accounted for on SRRBBL's P&L sheet. In addition, as was feared by concerned parents and coaches, the 668 players originally reported by SRRBBL turned out to be 853 players.

Comments


The Loudoun Times-Mirror article only scratches the surface.  There’s a detailed accounting of mismanagement at a Save Seneca Ridge River Bend Basketball League website.


coaches tried to hold an election per the by-laws, but were stopped by the board of directors from holding any elections in 2017.  Then re-wrote the by-laws to prevent any elections.  Wonder why?


This case should take 15 minutes to figure out.  The league uses a third party for online registration.  That third party would have records of how many kids registered and how much money was collected.  Simply match those numbers with (a) the numbers on the tax returns, and (b) the numbers in the leagues back account.  If the tax returns are off or money is not in the back account then some should be in the pokie.


What is LCPS view on this issue?  To reserve gym space each organization is required to provide a valid non-profit certificate.  Are SRRBBL area kids at risk of having no gym space to play basketball this year?  If so, the community needs to know to expedite a resolution.


Financial mismanagement is a serious issue for a league based on volunteers.  What is LCPS stand on this matter?  Is SRRBBL eligible to participate in basketball leagues and eligible for gym allocations?  Is the league in jeopardy for the current year?

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