FRIENDSWOOD

Police are investigating allegations that a member of the Friendswood Mustang Athletic Booster Club’s board of directors used the club’s money for personal purposes, Chief Bob Wieners said Tuesday.

Two members, only one of whom is a subject of the probe, have been removed from the club’s board of directors, district spokeswoman Dayna Owen said.

The subject of the investigation also has been dismissed from his job as a school district support staff employee, Owen said.

The investigation is just now getting underway and no one has been charged with any crimes, Wieners said.

It is not yet clear how much money is at issue, Owen said.

“This is truly shocking and heartbreaking, as one of the cornerstones of our school system is parent volunteers, and their support of our athletic programs is critical to the success of all sports,” officials with the Friendswood Mustangs Booster Club wrote in a prepared statement.

Investigators on Friday received a report that someone had stolen funds from the booster club and have since been looking into the allegations, Wieners said.

The organization’s board that morning had learned from the club treasurer that there had been discrepancies in the financial records, according to the official statement. The records revealed someone had been making unauthorized withdrawals from the club’s bank account, according to the statement.

The same day, the new interim president filed a police report alleging misuse of club funds, according to the statement.

The board was submitting all the club’s financial records to investigators, officials said.

Such investigations typically take a long time, Wieners said. Investigators even after receiving financial documents from the board will have to subpoena information from the banks, he said.

Booster clubs and parent-teacher organizations are separate entities from the district and are governed by individual boards and charters. But district officials have worked closely with the club’s leadership, Owen said.

This is not the first time in recent years that the booster club, which oversees support for the district’s 18 sports and 800 student athletes, has faced allegations about misappropriated funding.

Friendswood police in 2018 received a report of a separate incident involving the theft of funds from the booster club, Wieners said.

That investigation ultimately led to the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office charging Kimberly Halata, 50, with theft of property between $2,500 and $30,000, court records show.

Halata on Jan. 4 pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 10 years probation, court records show.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com.

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(4) comments

James Lippert

Responsibility for embezzlement does not lie solely with the person who does the stealing. Responsibility lies with the governing Board who should ensure a regular & thorough Certified Audit, by a licensed professional CPA, of the entities books. If such common measures were in place surely many of the Galveston County VFD’s (San Leon, Crystal Beach, Bolivar, etc) would not have their Chief’s serving time in State Prison.

Charlotte O'rourke

I agree with you .... fiduciary responsibility takes work and oversight. Retirement funds are still impacted by the Arthur Andersen auditing firm and Enron scandal.

That’s why even hiring an auditing firm isn’t 100%.

I watched on the news the fraud issue on covid vaccination. People always surprise me because I think the best of people, and many times they come through. And more rarely as in the alleged immunization fraud sometimes they don’t.

Stephanie Martin

Very sad, stealing from our children.

Jon Babara

If its that easy to take, thats the problem!

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