Children who belonged to the now-defunct Brick National Little League will still have a chance to play baseball this season, a Brick Little League official said.
“A lot of Brick National kids signed and paid already, so there really isn’t anything for them,” Brick Little League president Rich Soldo said. “Our organization decided to let them play and not charge them again. Let them come in with proof of payment, sign up under a Little League registration form, and they are going to be part of the league. All the coaches, all the kids are going to be involved in any capacity they want to be.”
Many Brick National parents have already paid the registration fee for the 2010 season, Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis has said.
Children who played for Brick National and want to continue playing Cal Ripken Little League ball can also still sign up with Brick American Little League, Soldo said.
“Brick American has been very nice to give them a break on the sign-up price,” he said. “They are not giving it for free.”
Brick Township police are continuing their investigation into Brick National’s books, Capt. John E. Rein Jr. said.
“The question-mark area is, was there a theft or criminal activity involved in this versus, for lack of a better word, shoddy bookkeeping?” Rein said. “There may or may not have been actual thefts that occurred.”
Township Administrator Scott M. Pezarras called for more financial documentation from sports organizations — including proposed budgets, year-end bank statements, and income and expense statements — almost two years ago.
Police launched an investigation into Brick National’s finances in January 2009. Then-league officials were told to get their financial house in order several times during the year, but did not comply, the mayor has said.
If the organizations didn’t comply, they would be barred from using townshipowned fields, Acropolis said.
And while some parents who paid Brick National for this year want refunds, neither the township nor Brick Little League will issue refunds.
The township is not responsible for refunding money owed by a private organization, Acropolis has said.
“There is no mechanism for the township to give taxpayer dollars back to people who paid money into an organization and now can’t get their money back,” Acropolis said.
Brick Little League refers any refund questions on its website to www.bricknational@ yahoo.com.
Soldo said it wouldn’t “be right” to charge former Brick National players again.
“They paid already,” he said. “We are not a business. It doesn’t hurt us. It does put us back a little.”
There will be fundraisers held once the season gets under way, Soldo said.
“We have a good fundraising organization,” he said. “They have tremendous ideas. I think we’ll be doing thing to the fields. We have lots of volunteers. They really want to be involved and fix up the complex.”
Brick Little League has been negotiating with uniform companies to try to get the best price possible, Soldo said.
“Everybody will have a uniform,” he said.
Brick Little League has slated more registration times this week at Hibbard Park on Cherry Quay Road.
The hours are 5-7 p.m. Jan. 22, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 23, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 24.
Some residents, especially those with children who played for Brick National, weren’t aware of the registrations held this past weekend, so more time was scheduled, Soldo said.
“We have a little over 600 so far,” he said. “I think we are going to hit 850 to 1,000. If it’s 1,000 kids, it’s 1,000 kids. We’ll handle it.”
Brick Little League and former Brick National parents have been working jointly on a new set of bylaws, Soldo said.
“We have a bylaw committee between both sides,” he said. “There have been a lot of meetings. I’m very impressed with how they are negotiating and working things out.
think they are almost done.”
But Soldo stressed that allowing Brick National players and parents into Brick Little League is not a merger.
“When you merge something, you have to take over bad debt and assets,” Soldo said. “It’s a blended board, a blended league, and more importantly, a united league.”