Prosecutors: 2 former Holbrook Little League officials stole funds
Two former high-ranking officials with a New Jersey youth baseball league whose all-star team played in the Little League World Series last summer have been accused of misappropriating more than $118,000 in league funds.
Tony Del Vecchio, who had been president of the Holbrook Little League in Jackson, and former league treasurer John Lehmann were both arrested Friday and charged with theft and conspiracy.
Ocean County prosecutors say the arrests stem from an investigation that started in December after county authorities received an anonymous letter detailing the alleged theft of league funds. They say an extensive review of the league finances from 2014 to present discovered discrepancies in league's bank accounts.
Little League parents say that they were shocked to hear the allegations.
“Today is not a happy day. It’s not a good day for anybody,” says Nevin Mann. “It’s a sad day, but it’s a turning point. Learn from this and let’s move on.
“Disappointed would be putting it lightly,” says Michael Kinsman. “You feel violated. This is supposed to be for [the children.] Taking money from the kids? It's disappointing."
Holbrook Vice-President Dave Citron says he and the other board members failed at their goal to provide transparency.
“We are going to try going forward pick up the pieces. Go forward, there is baseball to play,” Citron says. “Our focus is to put the kids on the field to play baseball."
Del Vecchio's lawyer declined comment, saying he had not yet received legal filings from police and prosecutors. It wasn't immediately known if Lehmann has retained an attorney.
Over 400 children are expected to sign up to play in the Holbrook League this year.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.