Parents of River Forest Little Leaguers Demand Answers
A concerned group of parents and volunteers involved with River Forest Youth Baseball and Softball (RFYBS) say they will contact the Illinois Attorney General’s office and Little League International if the president and nine-member board of RFYBS fail to disclose details about the league’s finances at the annual meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 24.
“A million dollars has been spent in the eight years Greg White has been president,” Gino Fioravanti, a parent leading the fight for answers, told West Cook News. “And for months we’ve asked to see how the money is being spent. But this is typical how they operate, as if it’s their league.”
Fioravanti added that White turned down his offer back in May to pay for an independent financial audit of the league stretching back five years.
But White said that the “complaints from the troublemakers” have been addressed “twenty times over.”
“This is water way under the bridge,” he said.
He also said that an offer of an audit never occurred but that the findings of a separate audit commissioned by the league will be made available at the annual meeting.
The parents also want answers surrounding the bylaws of the league, which is structured as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit. The Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Bureau requires all charitable groups to establish bylaws, and Little League International requires them for their member leagues.
Fioravanti said six months before last year’s annual meeting in October – the first one ever held – he, other parents and a coach asked for a copy of the bylaws; they turned up just a few weeks before the meeting. Now, he says, the board is already rewriting them.
“The board doesn’t want to follow the rules so now they are making new ones,” he said.
Arguments and even challenges to fight punctuated last year’s meeting held October 20, where more than 100 showed up at a noisy River Forest steak house with a Cubs playoff game supplying background noise.
Fioravanti says he expects at least as many parents and volunteers this year but he’s hoping it won’t be as raucous since the meeting is being held at the River Forest Library.
It costs $200 for a child to participate in RFYBS, a cost that’s among the highest in the area.
Comparable communities like Elmwood Park ($150), Norridge/Harwood Heights ($70), La Grange ($135), Berwyn ($95), Elmhurst ($190) and Western Springs ($185) all charge less.
A spokesman for Little League International said they will get involved in the operations of a local league if they find it’s not following the rules.
“The local league is autonomous in the sense of having freedom to elect its own officers, finance its program, and carry on various other related functions, but it must adhere scrupulously to all rules and regulations established by Little League,” said spokesman Kevin Fountain. “Should a concern arise, Little League would work through its regional office, District Administrator, and local leagues to resolve the issue.”