Report: Pompey shifted funds to his accounts

August 20, 1994|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writers Lem Satterfield and Jay Apperson contributed to this article.

Former Dunbar High School athletic director Pete Pompey used thousands of dollars raised by the school's non-profit concession stand at Orioles games for unauthorized expenditures, including paying off personal credit card bills, according to investigators.

A confidential report by Baltimore City State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms, obtained by The Sun, alleges the popular coach and administrator deposited $51,520 to a checking account he opened without the approval or knowledge of school officials.

The 12-page report concluded that Pompey may have taken steps to hide the account, and that he used money from it for both athletic department activities -- such as buying trophies -- and for "questionable and undocumented expenditures" including transferring nearly $10,000 to his personal bank or business accounts.

"Although such actions appeared to be designed to avoid accountability, we could not conclude that Pompey's actions can be conclusively established as a crime," Simms wrote in the report, dated Aug. 5 and addressed to Baltimore School Superintendent Walter G. Amprey.

Some of the money was spent on students in apparent violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, something that could render the athletes ineligible for college play, the report said.

Simms declined to press criminal charges against Pompey, but was critical of his handling of funds and recommended changes in school procedure regarding the handling of funds.

"We believe that under the circumstances our judgment was appropriate," Simms said yesterday, defending his decision not to prosecute.

The report did not include all the evidence he weighed, he said. He said he passed additional details to Amprey, but he would not describe them because the matter is now in the school superintendent's hands, he said.

"Our review is over and I don't want to discuss any additional evidence," Simms said.

Amprey, who yesterday transferred Pompey to Edmondson High response to the report, said he wrestled with the issue, in part because of a longtime relationship with Pompey. He said he believes Pompey has contributed significantly to Baltimore youth.

"I don't think that Pete had any criminal intent in the sense of stealing," Amprey said. "I think he just made some poor judgments."

Amprey, although reluctant to discuss the specifics of a personnel issue, acknowledged that Pompey failed to follow school procedures.

"The board is clearly not finished with this," Amprey said. He said the city board of education is looking into the matter and could take further action against Pompey, including asking for repayment of the money.

Pompey, 54, replaced Bob Wade in 1986 and coached the Poets' basketball team to a 29-0 record in 1991-92 and a No. 1 national ranking by USA Today, which also chose him Coach of the Year. He spent the past school year on paid administrative leave.

William H. Murphy Jr., Pompey's attorney said all the transfers were reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses Pompey incurred in the service of students.

"Mr. Pompey has an explanation for everything that would satisfy anyone."

He said Pompey has never been given the opportunity to explain most of the allegations, either to investigators or the school board. "He's not a bookkeeper or accountant. He's an athletic director," Murphy said.

He said the coach, who declined to comment for this article, hopes the matter is now concluded and can get on with his work.

The controversy stems from an arrangement through which Dunbar's sports booster club raised money at Orioles games. The Orioles' concessionaire, ARA Services, allows non-profit groups to staff some concession stands with volunteers and keep a percentage of the profits.

Pompey was responsible for the athletic club's stand at the games since 1991, at Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards. Before 1992, checks issued by ARA were deposited in a checking account authorized by the school, which prohibited personal use of the money and required documentation and signatures of the principal and another official.

But on May 12, 1992, ARA checks began to be deposited in the unauthorized account, which required only Pompey's signature. School officials were unaware of the account, according to the report.

Over the next year, 16 checks from ARA, totaling $51,520.42, were deposited into the unauthorized account. Another four checks, totaling $13,780.90, were deposited in the authorized account. The report said this "may or may not" have been done to create the appearance of proper handling of the proceeds.

From bank records, investigators determined that 124 checks were written on the unauthorized account, totaling $51,247.35. Of that, $3,965.05 was paid to Sunset Sports for uniforms and other material, $14,571 was used for banquets, trophies, food, -- cash, car repairs and payments to certain individuals, according to the report.

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