A while ago, I expressed my skepticism about the wisdom of turning to gambling as a way to raise funds. Today’s local rag has a long story that feeds my skepticism. A nugget (emphasis added):
Aragona-Pembroke makes more money from bingo and pull-tab gambling cards than any other Little League in the country, bringing in about $800,000 per year after paying out winnings, according to its most recent tax returns.
But the windfall hasn’t trickled down to the players, a Virginian-Pilot investigation shows.
In 2012, Aragona-Pembroke spent $150,000 on baseball operations, including uniforms, field maintenance and umpire salaries. That is about the same amount shown in the league’s 2009 tax filing, one year before it bought Witchduck Hall (a bingo hall–ed.).
What has changed are the league’s expenses.
More than $500,000 of the bingo hall revenue winds up in private hands, according to tax returns, property records, sales contracts and a deed of trust filed with the city.
The league paid $251,000 in salaries in 2012, including a combined $136,000 to Lou and Cheryl Mazza. Lou Mazza is apparently the only Little League president in the country receiving a salary, according to a review of Internal Revenue Service returns and the national Little League office. The national organization’s rules prohibit league officers from receiving money for their baseball service. Such an arrangement would inspire a “thorough, lengthy internal review,” national Little League spokesman Brian McClintock said in an email.
I have driven past that little bingo parlor many times and wondered what was going on in there.
I rest my case.
Addendum, a Few Days Later:
The longtime president of the Aragona-Pembroke Little League and his wife are out as officers, but the league won’t say whether they resigned voluntarily or whether they will continue running the league’s gambling hall.
They were involved in the organization for two decades. I suspect that, after a while, they begin to think of it as their own, rather than of thinking of themselves as its stewards.