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Gloucester City: How Can We Stop The Thieves from Stealing Our Donations?


Thank you to the Gloucester City Little League for sharing the information about the organization's finances. It helps to fill in some holes for example how the $52,000 was accrued. Besides the money being stolen some of us wondered either to themselves or out loud how come the Little League had so much money in their treasury. Your explanation answered some of those questions.

For those who are just tuning in the former treasurer of the Little League, Harry Fox Jr., was recently charged with embezzling $52,000 from the organization. And as many residents are aware this isn't the first time something like this has happened in Gloucester City.

Over the years I have watched, as you, in 1980 money stolen from the Mustangs Football organization cookie sales (a mother of one of the players stole the funds).

Also in the 1980's there was a City fireman who took $10,000 plus from the annual Softball Marathon.

Then again in 2007 there was another City fireman caught stealing funds from the same account.

And now the latest, $52,000 being stolen from the Little League organization.

There have been some recent comments posted about what could be done to stop the thieves. The most recent from an unknown person who signed their name Tired of Donating to Thieves makes the most sense, have the treasurer bonded. "If the treasurer was bonded the organization would get their money back and the bonding company would go after the thief, " he/she said.

I also feel it is not too much to ask that all organizations disclose full financial statements to the public each year. Some organizations feel if they give out that information the public will not be as generous. I don't believe that would happen. And on the other hand other organizations feel the public has no right to know how their donations are being spent.

Recently in one of my columns I suggested that all clubs and organizations require two even three signatures to withdraw money from their bank account. And give full financial disclosure to the members each month. Following the publication of the column I received a call from Mike Kenney, treasurer of the Mustangs. He said after reading my thoughts he made the motion to do just that at the Mustang meeting and the organization approved it.  Let's have a Cheer for the Mustangs!

All groups who solicit donations from the public should be required to release their financial statements on a yearly basis. That includes coin drops, golf tournaments, firemen's softball tournaments, fishing tournaments, cookie and candy sales, beef and beer events, door to door solicitations and so forth on.

As mentioned before, openness would help discourage those with "sticky" fingers.

If you look back to what type of punishment the thieves mentioned in the past received all of them got off with just a slap on the hand. They get no jail time, instead the Courts sentenced the crook (s) to community service, a few years probation, and the thief can take their time making restitution. Is it any wonder we are reading more and more about corruption in volunteer organizations?

To put it in simple terms the thief has gotten away with highway robbery and received a free interest loan to pay back at their leisure.

The time has come to put measures in place so this won't happen again in our community. And if organizations are not willing to be forth coming then the public should withhold their donations until they make full disclosure of their expenses and expenditures.

Related: Harry Fox Jr. Arrested