CMSA sues treasurer Michael Rice, claiming he stole more than $ 160,000
CMSA, the largest LGBT sports organization in the American Midwest, is suing its former treasurer for allegedly stealing more than $ 160,000 in funds and concealing its financial activities. Michael O. Rice II was relieved of his duties at the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association last year after failing to get re-elected.
The board issued a statement on May 4 saying, “We have taken immediate action and obtained legal counsel to begin the long process of seeking restitution for all CMSA funds earmarked for an improper purpose.”
CMSA attorneys noted that Rice served as treasurer for eight years until July 31, 2020.
According to the complaint, Rice issued herself checks, invented false justifications for the checks, cashed the checks and while hiding them.
The allegations also include accusations that Rice undertook a two-week campaign between July 21 and August 3, 2020 to modify hundreds of fraudulent checks in CMSA’s accounting system to cover his activities, and that he worked to delay a formal CMSA audit as recently as last year. The amount of suspicious checks and transactions identified so far in the investigation is over $ 160,000. “
The lawyers said, “Rice has acted intentionally, willfully and maliciously in flagrant violation of her fiduciary responsibilities to CMSA.”
The criminal case will be handled by the Cook County state prosecutor and will most likely be presented to the Cook County Special Grand Jury – a second grand jury summoned to Chicago to indict non-violent offenses like financial crimes. They will decide Rice’s fate in criminal court.
Embezzlement is particularly troublesome when membership and participation in its sports leagues is based on collecting dues – from as many as 4,000 people.
Luis Dominguez plays several sports in the CMSA.
“I am shocked,” he said. “I’ve played soccer and volleyball and I’m worried about the impact that will have on the league.”
“This discovery was shocking and deeply disappointing for all of us,” said Lindsay Frounfelkner, Chair of the CMSA Board of Directors.
“Once the auditor’s review indicated a high likelihood of misconduct, our board immediately engaged legal counsel to further investigate and take action on behalf of the CMSA members.”
The group is also claiming damages and the cost of its legal action.
The board is pursuing an active investigation, which is led by board members whose tenure did not overlap with Rice’s on the board.
Board members Michael Richardson, Kyle Palmer, Jeremiah Stevens and Jason Topping serve on the independent committee.
“As a new member of the CMSA Board of Directors but a long-time member of the organization, I have been impressed by my colleagues for their commitment to transparency and a careful assessment of the policies and procedures of the organization. ‘organization since my arrival in August 2020, ”Stevens mentioned.
“We are all extremely saddened and disappointed with the situation that led to the complaint we have filed today, but I have no doubts that with the support of the CMSA members, the Board of Directors will address this issue in a way. responsible and aggressive and will work for none of this. nature can happen in the future. “
CMSA was formed in 1978 as the Gay Sports Association with a flagship softball program. He eventually branched out into bowling, volleyball, soccer, tennis, racquetball, badminton, soccer, kickball, golf, and dodgeball. In 2020, they added esports.