JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -
Jonesboro police are investigating claims that a youth baseball coach stole money from the team.
According to the police report, assistant coach David Phillips of Arkansas Stealth told police the head coach stole about $20,000 from the team.
Phillips told police the head coach Derek Lee has an account set up for the team's funds. The report stated the account held fees from parents for team sign up, and money raised from fundraisers.
This money helped pay for entry fees to tournaments and travel when the team played in different places.
Phillips told police some parents were concerned when checks written on the account came back with insufficient funds.
He stated in the report one check returned was from an entry fee to a tournament the players were scheduled to play in.
Phillips told police several parents started to look into the account and noticed funds missing.
The report states parents tried to meet with Lee about the funds and he never showed up.
Region 8 News reached out to Lee and he provided this statement exclusively regarding Phillip's claim:
"Thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight and get truthful information reported. As you are aware, there have been accusations regarding the operations of a baseball team. I want you and the KAIT 8 viewers to know that these allegations are either 100% false or based on incorrect information. There are people in this world that thrive to 'stir the pot' and cause as much drama as they can. And unfortunately, [some team parents] are the main instigators in this action for the above-stated reasons. It started when the team, both the parents, and the players, completely fell apart this past weekend. As the coach and individual that started this team 5 years ago, I made the decision that our season was over after the recent events were discovered. It has been my goal to have players AND parents of good character. However, this has been a constant struggle this past season with regards to both. There was nothing good that would have come by putting boys, who had recently been very disrespectful to each other about their level of play on the field together, thus I made the decision to end the season. Along with the additional fact that it was not going to be a positive environment between the parents and myself once it was revealed that false allegations and accusations were being made. It is very regrettable that the acts by a few caused a premature ending to the season. At this time the season has ended, and because I have been attacked as the head coach/founder of the team, the decision has been made to hold all team funds to pay for any legal representation necessary to defend these ridiculous and false claims. It should be noted that the season just ended this week and a reasonable time frame has not even allowed for the closing of the books. Thank you for providing honest and credible reporting to your viewers."
Police are investigating the claims at this time, no charges have been filed.
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