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Suit Says Soccer Funds Diverted

AYSO group in Orange County alleges that an official used more than $100,000 in organization money for himself and left it in debt.

June 27, 2003|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

A youth soccer official spent more than $100,000 in organization funds on personal investments, house payments and the purchase of four Galaxy season tickets with preferred parking, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Youth Soccer Organization.

The suit claims that Anthony Anish, 55, of Costa Mesa, who oversaw AYSO regional operations in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, squandered much of the nonprofit's $120,000 budget on personal indulgences and left it $60,000 in debt. AYSO officials allege that Anish funneled some of the money to his business, AM Capital.

The funds were for scholarships, handicapped and mentally challenged children's programs, field maintenance, equipment and training for coaches and referees.

Anish, who has two children on AYSO teams, declined to comment. His attorney, Doug Miller, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Anish joined the board in February 2001 to oversee finances for AYSO Region 97, which serves more than 1,500 children and had a reserve fund of $120,000.

According to club members and the suit, filed in Orange County Superior Court last week, AYSO members became suspicious in August or September 2002 when Anish refused to provide financial information and failed to show monthly reports. Then the bounced checks began to trickle in. Eventually, a financial committee was formed to investigate the funds.

The suit alleges that Anish wrote a check for nearly $40,000 to his business in August 2002 but told AYSO officials that it was for soccer uniforms. A week later, according to the suit, he paid $7,000 to an investor in one of his businesses, and in September wrote a check for $2,500 to the landlord of his business.

Anish resigned from AYSO in May and left the organization with less than $20,000 and a debt of more than $60,000, the suit alleges.

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