Weatherford Democrat

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February 28, 2014

For now, no youth baseball in Peaster

Association working to salvage season following president's arrest

By CHRISTIN COYNE

PEASTER – Peaster Baseball Association board members didn't have many answers for the group of about two dozen upset parents and children who showed up at Peaster Elementary School Thursday night.

Most in the group had learned from a news report just minutes earlier of the arrest that evening of the association's president on charges of embezzlement, less than three weeks before the start of the season. 

Board members, reportedly alerted by account activity red flags, turned over information regarding the alleged theft to the Parker County Sheriff's Office earlier in the week. Investigators believe Noe Joe McKinzie took at least $10,000 from the group and left the organization in debt, according to the sheriff's office, which obtained a warrant for McKinzie's arrest Thursday on a charge of misapplication of fiduciary duty in an amount between $1,500 and $20,000.

McKinzie was released from Parker County Jail on Friday morning after posting a $7,500 bond.

Just hours after beginning the tedious process of going through the association's financial and registration records Wednesday night, board members promised parents they would do everything in their power to see that the children play at least a part of a season if at all possible. But, for now, the 2014 season is cancelled, parents and coaches were told. 

Each season, the association serves about 115 to 140 children from Peaster, Garner and Poolville, ranging in ages from 4 to 18, according to members.

The group wasn't even sure yet how many students had registered for the upcoming season, how much money is missing or how much it would take to make a season happen. 

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler also spoke at the hastily called meeting, giving a brief update about the arrest and the ongoing investigation. 

Board members reportedly told the sheriff's office that McKinzie made cash withdrawals and created a debit card for the league’s general account, using it for personal transactions, while leaving the league in debt for several thousand dollars. McKinzie appropriated around $10,000 since January, according to the sheriff's office. 

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