A troublesome issue surrounding the finances of Outlook Minor Sports was not the way that the local organization hoped to end the 2019 year. A misappropriation of funds by the OMS treasurer led to meetings being called in the fall to inform parents of what was going on, and what OMS was doing to recoup what monies had been taken.
Daniel Erlandson, President of Outlook Minor Sports was open and honest during a phone interview with The Outlook about what had happened and was able to shed light on the facts surrounding the situation. All too often in a small town, there are a thousand versions of what “the truth” is, and it is the job of the media to set the record straight and get the reality and the perspective of key people into the hands of the public.
Erlandson shared the dollar figure that had been misappropriated, as well as how long OMS had determined that this had been happening.
“We were able to prove and document a total of $174,619.57,” said Dan, on the phone with this reporter last week. “We were able to go back to 2013.”
It was last fall that Minor Sports had begun putting the pieces together on what had been done with funds.
“I guess at the start of September, it had been brought up to the prior board that something might be happening,” said Dan. “We fully put the picture together in October.”
According to Erlandson, the misappropriating was done by involving written cheques and e-transfer payments.
“There are cheques written to Jaclyn from the OMS bank account, and then there are e-transfers that were not transferred into the OMS bank account that should have been,” he said.
Dan noted that Outlook Minor Sports was never hit financially until the past year; they always had bills paid and things taken care of. When the picture started coming more into view, the board couldn’t believe it at first.
“I think initially, we were just in disbelief, for the most part,” he said. “Disbelief is the word I would use. When we started looking into it initially, we were hoping it was just some mismanagement of some funds and not being untoward, but when we found out that it was more than just mismanagement, we were in disbelief and shock.”
Minor Sports explored its options, Dan says, and ultimately decided on a system that would help them recoup their losses.
“As a board, we discussed three options: one was criminal, civil, and then just trying to recover the funds,” he said. “We decided on trying to recover funds. We did it on advice from both lawyers and the RCMP, as well as people who had previously been in situations like this, so we tried to encompass as many resources as we could to come up with the right course of action. The one we decided on was trying to recover funds for OMS.”
As of this writing, most of the money has been recovered for Minor Sports, and Erlandson says they appear to be on track to have it all back soon.
“To date, we have recouped $112,500 so far,” he said. “We’re hoping that by the end of January, we should have the whole matter wrapped up.”
Dan knows there is a range of emotions out in the public eye surrounding this situation, but he says the OMS board decided on the best option in moving forward.
“I think there’s been a whole range of reactions,” he said. “There’s obviously frustration and some anger, and disbelief. I think, for the most part, I believe that people are okay with the route we’ve chosen as far as getting funds back. There are certainly some people who are frustrated and looking for some more repercussions in terms of a criminal aspect, but we as a board just decided that it was in the best interest of the organization and the kids to recoup funds, and we just thought it was what was best.”
Erlandson looks forward to putting this matter behind OMS, thanking key people who are helping to resolve it, and is happy to see that the focus can now get back to providing the kids of the community with hockey events and inspiring many other sports memories in the future.
“For me personally, and from the board, we’re incredibly appreciative of what Larry & Angie Knapik have done in terms of moving this process along,” said Dan. “They’ve been outstanding throughout the whole thing in helping us find a solution to a pretty uncomfortable situation. It was looking a little dire at the start of October, but now we’re financially healthy and we’re able to have the kids on the ice and make sure they have a good year this year, as well as the years to come.”