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Woman arrested for stealing thousands from baseball league
A local youth baseball league was rocked after board members learned their former treasurer had allegedly confessed to stealing over $8,000 from the nonprofit organization.
Julia Harmon, 47, was arrested last Wednesday after police said she admitted to stealing the funds from the Mid Valley Youth Baseball Association between January and August of this year.
Between 70 and 100 kids, primarily from Woodburn and Gervais, participate each year in the summer league, which hosts games at Centennial Park.
Board president Danny Peterson said the loss is devastating to the organization.
It was everything we have, he said. Were starting from zero.
He said that it appears that revenues from this past season concessions and T-shirt sales, etc. were not deposited as they should have been.
But the loss encompasses more than this years funds. It also includes the carryover the league had hoped to spend this year on scoreboard repairs, equipment upgrades and other improvements.
Weve been working for the past three seasons to fundraise and build our accounts up to where we had some breathing room and could start doing some nicer things for our players, he said. This is a huge blow.
Peterson said he and the other Mid Valley board members first learned there was something amiss when vendors reported their end-of-season checks in August had bounced.
The board met Thursday and plans to raise enough money to pay off the vendors first, before focusing on the coming season.
Peterson explained that many of the costs for the season have to be paid up-front not the least of which is the payment for insurance policies covering 100 youth baseball players.
The organization is hopeful that, at least, some of the stolen funds will be recovered especially given Harmons reported confession but Peterson said the board is not counting on it.
Thats our big question, will we be able to recover any of the money thats gone? he said. That would help as far as our needs going into the season, but we have no expectations that well get all of our money back right away.
Harmon had served as Mid Valleys treasurer for about a year. Peterson said no one on the board had spoken with her since her arrest last week.
We dont know anything as far as her motivation or why she made the decision to start pocketing money, he said. Obviously, an organization like ours takes a lot of volunteer effort. Everyone has their part, and we have to put a lot of trust in each other.
Unfortunately, having that trust didnt work out for us this time. Were going to have to change a lot of things.
He admitted the experience has been a difficult one, but having time to meet and process things as a board has helped immensely.
I cant be upset, I cant be angry, because it doesnt fix anything, he said. All I can really do is try to move forward and figure out how to make sure it doesnt happen again.
He said the support Mid Valley has already received from the community has also been a major boost.
According to a press release, Harmon was arrested Sept. 9 by Woodburn police. She was cited for first-degree theft, a class C felony, and released.
As of Monday, court records indicated that Harmon had not yet been formally charged in the case.
A spokeswoman for the Marion County district attorney confirmed Monday afternoon that her office had not yet received the case from Woodburn police.
Tyler Francke covers all things Woodburn. He can be reached at [email protected] woodburnindependent.com or 503-765-1195.