- Allison Goldsberry
On Friday morning a father and son who formerly served as president and treasurer of the West Medford Hillside Little League pleaded not guilty to larceny charges.
Stanley Komins, 78, of Stoneham, is charged with larceny by embezzlement over $250. Stephen Komins, 45, of Stoneham, is charged with larceny by embezzlement over $250, uttering a false check, and forgery by check, according to information released by the DA.
Both men were arraigned in Somerville District Court on Friday morning. According to information released by Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, they have been told they need permission to leave the state and had to surrender their passports. The Komins will be back in court for a pre-trial hearing on February 8.
“This father and son allegedly used their leadership positions to steal from the youth little league, taking money that was meant to be used for the West Medford youth baseball community for their own personal use,” District Attorney Leone said. “The defendants violated the trust of parents, players and the community.”
According to authorities, Stanley Komins (pictured at right) was president of the board of directors of the West Medford Hillside Little League for more than twenty years while his son, Stephen, served as treasurer for many years.
It was Stanley’s retirement from the board in October 2011 that prompted an investigation. According to DA Leone, Komins refused to provide past records when the new board asked about the league’s finances. An auditing firm hired by the league “noticed discrepancies” in its records, which led to the Medford Police getting involved and launching an investigation in conjunction with the DA’s office.
According to authorities, between April 2007 and October 2011, Stanley allegedly wrote checks to himself from the little league account, something which he was not authorized to do. He cashed the checks or deposited them in his personal bank account, allegedly stealing $38,000 in this way. Additionally, between May 2009 and September 2011, Stanley is suspected of buying items from BJ’s Wholesale Club using little league money even though some of the items purchased had nothing to do with the operation of the league.
Stephen Komins also allegedly cashed league checks for his own personal use, according to the DA. Between December 2007 and July 2009, authorities say Stephen cashed a total of $4,000 in league checks. In the spring of 2011, Stephen allegedly had a friend cash the league checks and give the money back to him. Stephen is also accused of buying personal items from BJ’s with league money.
The DA says both Komins also took cash from the league’s refreshment stand, which was operated by one of them during games. Both men were the ones responsible for depositing the concession stand money into the league’s bank account, yet records show the deposits were “inconsistent” with the expected revenues from the snack sales.
Reached by Boston.com, Stanley Komins said he didn’t know anything about the charges against him. In an interview with Fox25 News, Komins denied stealing any money and said he was reimbursing himself for league expenses.
The West Medford Hillside Little League is currently under new leadership. The league posted the following statement on their website:
“The current West Medford Hillside Little League is aware of the allegations of the past board members. In 2011 a new board was elected and became aware of the inconsistent and irregular accounting practices of the previous board. We hired an independent audit firm to review our financial records. We then handed over all documentation to the authorities. We continue to work at being transparent with the parents of West Medford and ensuring that we create a league that the community can be proud of,” said the statement.
A source criticized the league and its board members for “willful blindness” to the situation.
“It made me sick to see what was going on and the number of people who knew about it and refused to do anything,” said the source.
According to the source, the audit revealed financial losses of over $100,000. The league has been able to recoup about $35,000 due to an insurance policy that paid out if theft could be proven. The “blatant” theft, said the source, was so obvious, the insurance company paid the league in just fourteen days.
The source said parents and board members were aware of wrong-doings but were afraid of their children being retaliated against.
“It was the best-known secret in Medford,” said the source.
The league held a parent meeting on Thursday night. According to information released by the league, the meeting focused on planning for the 2013 season as well as “an open discussion about a potential merger with the other city little leagues.” At this point it appears the league did not formally move in the direction of merging with the city’s other little leagues, much to the chagrin of parents and other coaches who hoped such a move would lead to better organization and more accountability.