Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-06-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Details emerge about CMSA financial scandal
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2017-02-08

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Late last May, Brian Sommer—who had just taken over as the commissioner of dodgeball from Jack Neilsen, a sport run by the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA )—noticed an inconsistency with a past invoice for the sport and he immediately informed CMSA president Michael Erwin.

Erwin admitted he was "shocked and very concerned" with what he was seeing, and he wanted to investigate the matter as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible, he said.

Erwin spoke with Sommer, collecting information directly from the new commissioner. Erwin also immediately notified two other board members, Joshua Dehnke and Julie Norris, to start the investigation. Other board members assisted as needed as the investigation progressed.

The board immediately suspended Neilsen from holding any position of authority or any position that could involve the spending of CMSA funds, Erwin said.

"The board looked at reimbursement forms and invoices from Neilsen. We also contacted all related vendors to attempt to verify all invoices at issue," Erwin said. "The board engaged counsel, Greg Ostfeld, who assisted in our investigation and advised the board on its fiduciary responsibilities and legal strategy."

The board investigated reimbursements related to women's dodgeball, open dodgeball, and open softball, which includes Thursday night fall softball—leagues that Neilsen was the commissioner for, most notably open Sunday softball, a league he ran from 2008-2015. ( He was commissioner of women's dodgeball during 2012-2016 and open dodgeball during 2008-2016. )

The board also investigated reimbursements related to a softball tournament initially organized by Neilsen.

By July 2016, through consultation with Ostfeld, the board determined that it had enough evidence to pursue disciplinary action and civil claims against Neilsen, Erwin said. "After that, the board continued to consider relevant information that came to its attention, and it continues to do so," he said.

Erwin said, advised by counsel, he would not describe the specific reimbursement forms or invoices, "as doing so could compromise its position in future potential litigation," he said. "The board can say that the reimbursement forms or invoices were related to softball and dodgeball purchases, some relating to the respective sports' budget and some related to the CMSA general fund. The board reviewed approximately 35 reimbursement forms or invoices."

Ultimately, the board determined that Neilsen had received unverified reimbursements in the amounts of approximately $3,000 from dodgeball ( women's and open ), approximately $22,500 from softball ( open and Thursday fall ), and approximately $7,500 from CMSA general funds.

In total, that's $33,000.

"My reaction [after the investigation], and that of the entire board, was one of shock, concern, and disappointment," Erwin said. "The board and I understood the need to take appropriate actions to recover misappropriated funds, pursue CMSA disciplinary proceedings, and consider all legal options, civil and criminal. The board also knew that it needed to re-evaluate how it handles reimbursements and invoices from its commissioners and others in CMSA and update CMSA's policies and procedures accordingly."

Erwin said that CMSA's investigation "turned up no evidence of any other person's involvement." CMSA investigated and questioned multiple individuals, including past and present board members, about possible involvement or what they knew, Erwin said.

Per CMSA policy, all checks associated with reimbursement forms or invoices were signed by any two elected officers ( president, vice president 1, vice president 2, treasurer, or secretary ), Erwin said.

The board notified Neilsen in early July that CMSA would hold disciplinary proceedings, according to CMSA policies and procedures. At the same time, the board notified Neilsen of his right to retain and be advised by counsel at his expense. Neilsen retained counsel and declined to be questioned. Neilsen did not confess to misappropriation.

Also in July 2016, CMSA elections were held, requiring a transition of information to the new board. "The board guaranteed no relevant information was lost in this transition," Erwin said.

Windy City Times has attempted to contact Neilsen for comment, but he has not replied.

A settlement between CMSA and Neilsen was reached primarily through discussions between Neilsen's counsel and CMSA's counsel, with the CMSA board consulted on all relevant points of settlement, said Erwin, who did not say if the settlement was first presented by counsel for CMSA or for Neilsen.

"The Board of Directors consulted with its counsel on the option of filing criminal charges, and no final determination has yet been made. The parties' settlement agreement does not impact CMSA's ability to pursue criminal charges," Erwin said.

The board has been advised by counsel not to provide all details of the settlement agreement, as doing so could compromise CMSA's position in potential litigation if action is needed to enforce terms of the settlement agreement later, Erwin said.

In general, though, the settlement agreement provides for repayment of all amounts CMSA believes were misappropriated by Nielsen, plus interest, in monthly payments.

The agreement also provides that a default interest rate attaches to the outstanding amount if payments are missed, he said. It provides for security interests and stringent enforcement mechanisms in the event of a continuing breach. "These mechanisms would facilitate much quicker enforcement than CMSA could have obtained had it filed a lawsuit from the outset," Erwin added.

Payments began in October 2016 and are continuing monthly, Erwin said, countering last week's WCT article, which noted that sources said the payments had stopped. There are minimum amounts set for each month, with the option to pay more than the minimum.

The reimbursed funds are being proportionately distributed to the leagues and the general fund from which the original reimbursements were paid, Erwin said.

Erwin said the opening balance that Neilsen was to pay was over $37,000, including interest, and interest will continue to accrue throughout the settlement agreement until paid in full. As such, the total settlement amount will depend in part on whether payments are made beyond the minimum required amounts.

In the event of a continuing repayment breach by Neilsen, the total amount including interest becomes immediately due and payable, with stringent enforcement mechanisms, Erwin said. "This has not happened. CMSA is monitoring payments closely and will respond promptly to any missed payments."

The board has since enacted new, more stringent safeguards, Erwin said. For example, the board lowered the reimbursement threshold triggering a requirement for specific board approval prior to purchase, and also now requires purchases exceeding a certain amount to be paid to the vendor directly by the CMSA treasurer. "CMSA will continue to evaluate its financial safeguards regularly going forward as part of its annual review process," he said.

Also see "CMSA president provides update on the situation" at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/CMSA-president-provides-update-on-the-situation/58063.html .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Jason Collins at Chicago Sky events 2017-06-22 - Chicago—The Chicago Sky and retired NBA trailblazer Jason Collins will host Diversity and Inclusion celebrations July 6-8, 2017. Collins became the first ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History 2017-06-21 - By Molly Schiot. $25; Simon & Schuster; 310 pages You can't bear to look at the score. Whatever it is, it's ...


Gay News

Marathon man leads LGBT running club 2017-06-21 - When Corbin Woodling moved to Chicago in 1990, he had a problem. Fresh from graduate school at Purdue University, he didn't know ...


Gay News

Billie Jean King delivers speech at NU commencement 2017-06-21 - Former star tennis player Billie Jean King, known for her advocacy work on behalf of women and the LGBTQ community, addressed Northwestern University's ...


Gay News

Force advance to championship 2017-06-21 - The Chicago Force added to its final season—and to its legacy—by defeating the Pittsburgh Passion in the playoffs 45-0 on June 17 at ...


Gay News

Drag rock climbing event benefits Transformative Justice Law Project 2017-06-21 - On June 13, Brooklyn Boulders Chicago and DO312 presented Out to Climb: Pride Edition at 100 S. Morgan St. The event, which boasted ...


Gay News

Chicago Force heads into the playoffs, ending the team's 15-year run 2017-06-12 - After 15 seasons, the Chicago Force football team is coming to an end, as team owner Linda Bache does not intend to sell ...


Gay News

SPORTS Force stops Slam, heads into the WFA playoffs on June 17 2017-06-04 - The Chicago Force ended its regular-season with a 44-20 win over the St. Louis Slam on Saturday, June 3, at Evanston Township High ...


Gay News

LGBT Hall of Fame Bowling benefit raises $7,100 2017-06-04 - The seventh annual Dick Uyvari Memorial Celebrity Bowl was held at Waveland Bowling Alley June 3. The tournament was renamed in 2016 in ...


Gay News

World news: InterPride, HIV death warning, tennis icons clash 2017-05-30 - InterPride, the International Association for Pride Organizers, has called on LGBTQ+ people everywhere to attend and support local Pride events everywhere, according to ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.