GLOVERSVILLE - Baseball club volunteers are feuding over a $7,000 donation that was made by a former club and then rescinded a day later.
The Gloversville Baseball Club, which is dissolving as a new club, the Dugout Club, is forming, donated the remaining $7,000 in its account to the Gloversville Enlarged School District last week. Members of the Board of Education accepted the donation, but it was taken back the next day.
Baseball Club President Barry Greenough said the money was taken back after club members found out it would not be used in the way the club wanted it to. Greenough said the club intended to give $4,000 to upgrade the softball field at the Gloversville Little League Park and $3,000 to the high school baseball program. About $6,500 was given to the baseball program earlier this year.
Greenough said he learned the entire donation instead would be given solely to the baseball program, which is why he took the money back.
"They wanted all of it," he said. "The girls [softball team] doesn't even have benches at their field. We're just trying to make it fair. [Those overseeing the boys baseball program] want to drive a Cadillac and not let the girls even have a bicycle."
Critics claim Greenough took the money back because club members were upset that Gloversville Athletic Director Mike DeMagistris was appointed baseball coach.
That doesn't make sense, Greenough said, because the first $6,500 donated to the club was given after DeMagistris was appointed.
"They just don't want anyone else to have it," Greenough said.
Dugout Club President Mike Oathout said it appears suspicious that the Baseball Club volunteers want to donate money to the softball team now, even though they have never donated to the team before. He also noted the softball team now has its own booster club.
"They've been in existence for 22 years and have never given a dime to softball," Oathout said.
Oathout insisted the Dugout Club does not want the money and said it should go toward the purpose for which it was raised: the baseball program.
He said the money was raised through donations from individuals and businesses that were under the impression it was going toward the baseball program. To give the money to a different program is misappropriation of funds, he said.
Board of Education President Pete Semione agreed. He said he donated to the club personally as a business owner and knows of other business owners who did the same. Using the money donated for something other than baseball is misleading, he said.
Semione said opinions obtained from the state attorney general and state comptroller's office state that spending the donated money on something other than the baseball program would be a misappropriation of funds.
"I'm disappointed they rescinded the money," he said. "It should go toward the reason it was raised for."
DeMagistris agreed. He said the money should go to the baseball club.
"There is an unwritten agreement with the community when you raise money," he said. "It should go to what it was raised for."
DeMagistris said he is hopeful the matter will be resolved soon. He said the softball booster club is working to raise money for the softball program.
Greenough said he has contacted legal professionals and has been told his club did nothing wrong in taking the money back or in seeking to give some of it to the softball team.
"It's not like this money is going anywhere wrong," he said. "They're just upset they're not getting all of it."
Kayleigh Karutis covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.