DENVER - 9Wants to Know has learned a Denver youth football club, that's been in existence for 40 years, is now in jeopardy due to financial troubles.
Parents say they paid to register their kids for Montbello Falcons Football, but the club didn't pay its bills on time.
Parents and coaches say player fees were sent to the president of the Montbello Falcons Athletic Club. They say club president, Necce Rattler, was supposed to use the money to pay dues to the Arapahoe Youth League, pay practice field fees to the Denver Parks Department, and take care of any other expenses.
Falcons Coach Naamon Owens says AYL leaders told him last month that the Falcons' five teams had not paid the required $5,500 fee to play this season. The Denver Parks and Recreation Department says it also has not been paid. More than $4,000 is owed for the use of practice fields at the city's Falcon Park.
Montbello Falcons Athletic Club president, Necce Rattler, denies any wrongdoing. 9Wants to Know asked for an accounting of the club's finances, but Rattler had not provided one.
"Children shouldn't have to pay for what an adult has done to them, so it really angers me," Said Naamon Owens, who coaches 10-year-olds. "I believe the money has been mismanaged."
Rattler denies any wrongdoing. Her attorney, Lynn Pierce, said in an email:
"There has been no embezzlement involved on the part of Necce Rattler in her uncompensated 14-year volunteer job of paying the current and past expenses of this underfunded non-profit."
Parents and coaches spent the last few weeks scrambling to salvage the season. They raised the money still owed to the Arapahoe Youth League, and a rival team offered to host the Falcon players as part of their organization this year. Their teams are now called "Eagle Falcons," and they played their first game last Saturday.
However, coaches say the city practice field bill remains unpaid. As a result, Denver park rangers could kick them out of Montbello's Falcon Park, which was named in honor of their 40-year-old sports club.
"It's not just about this season," said Owens. "It's about a long lasting football program and athletic program in this community."
9Wants to know frequently gets calls and emails about families who have disputes with youth sports organizations.
The BBB offers these tips to parents:
- Make sure the sports organizations don't have a negative complaint history with the BBB.
- Thoroughly understand how the program will work including schedules, requirements, fees and any refund/cancellation policies.
- If the program conducts fund raisers, try to verify exactly how the funds are used
If you have a tip, email the 9Wants to Know investigators at BlowTheWhistle@9News.com or call Melissa Blasius at 303-871-1843.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)