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USBC reaches legal agreement with N.Y. state association (bowl.com)

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  • USBC reaches legal agreement with N.Y. state association (bowl.com)

    Courtesy Bowl.com

    By Jason Overstreet
    USBC Communications - 2/24/2009


    The United States Bowling Congress and the New York State USBC Bowling Association (NYSBA) have reached an agreement to end a lawsuit filed by the NYSBA.

    The agreement sets forth a process for the creation of a new open state association in New York and ensures the 2009 N.Y. State Championship Tournament will be held, as scheduled, in April. The agreement also will allow members still owed money from the 2008 tournament prize fund to be issued checks immediately.

    Last October, USBC revoked the charter of the NYSBA after it was discovered that Stephen Donahue of Weedsport, N.Y., the former manager of the NYSBA, embezzled approximately $274,000 from the NYSBA including a portion of the 2008 tournament prize fund. In response, NYSBA filed suit in November arguing that its charter had been unlawfully revoked by the USBC. Donahue recently pled guilty to felony grand larceny.

    As a result of the lawsuit, the New York State Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order preventing either side from, among other things, running the 2009 State Championship Tournament or paying out the 2008 tournament prize fund.

    Citing a mutual desire to promote the best interests of bowlers, both parties now agree that the charter of the former NYSBA will remain revoked and its board of directors relieved of its duties and responsibilities. USBC will begin the process of forming a new open state association, allowing members in New York to elect a new board of directors within 90 days.

    Dennis Light, a practicing attorney from Westchester County who was named president of the NYSBA after the discovery of Donahue's theft, has agreed to be Tournament Director for the 2009 State Championship Tournament in Utica, N.Y., which will be operated by USBC.

    "Our goals are to protect the interests of bowlers in New York and make sure the State Tournament takes place," USBC Chief Operating Officer Kevin Dornberger said. "We believe this agreement with the former NYSBA accomplishes that goal. Dennis Light was forthcoming with the matters involving Mr. Donahue and I am optimistic Dennis will be a willing partner to help bowlers in New York during this transition."

    The agreement also clarifies that USBC will ensure any NYSBA youth scholarship awards that remain outstanding are paid.

    "The underlying theft by Mr. Donahue was an irreconcilable event or, in other words, too large an obstacle for the NYSBA to overcome," Light said. "The reformation and reorganization of a new open state association will give the bowlers in New York a fresh start."

    "This agreement recognizes the commitment both organizations have had to promoting the best interests of all bowlers in this state," Light said. "It is my impression the parties are now satisfied and pleased that the resolution of this matter has preserved and further assures the process, by which, the USBC membership in New York will decide the future of USBC certified bowling in their state."

    Information and entries for the 2009 State Championship Tournament can be found on bowl.com.

    The issues involving the USBC and NYSBA do not affect members or programs of the New York State USBC Women's Bowling Association (NYSWBA) or the New York State USBC Youth Association.

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  • #2
    Closure

    Stephen Donahue, the former association manager of the New York State USBC Bowling Association, was sentenced to three to nine years in state prison today on a felony count of second-degree grand larceny.Donahue, who pleaded guilty in January, embezzled about $272,000 from the state Bowling Association and admitted gambling it away at Turning Stone Resort and Casino between September 2006 and May 2008.
    In Oneida County Court, Donahue's attorney, Robert Bahr, asked if Donahue could receive only probation instead of prison time because of his poor health conditions. Instead, Donahue suggested that maybe he could travel and speak to people about gambling problems.
    Bahr, however, noted that it was not likely Donahue would be able to pay even $50,000 toward the more than $200,000 that had been taken.
    Dwyer denied that request and stated that it would send the wrong message that someone can steal thousands of dollars, not have to pay it back and receive no jail punishment.
    "Is that the message you think should be sent?" Dwyer asked.
    Donahue insisted that he never minimized what he had done, and that he accepted responsibility for his wrongdoing.
    "This happened over and over and over again," Dwyer replied. "You just kept doing it and doing it and doing it. Why did you keep doing it?"
    "I had a gambling problem, I don't know what else to say," Donahue said.
    Donahue knew what he was doing was wrong, yet he just kept gamblilng away and had a "good time" until he was caught, Dwyer emphasized. In some cases, Dwyer noted, Donahue even took money from his wife to pay back the bowling association.
    "Is that what you really think we're going to do, turn our backs on this?" Dwyer asked. "I'm sorry, but I just don't have sympathy for you."
    Donahue was then taken into custody.
    He is due back in court Friday, April 3, for a hearing to determine the exact amount of restitution.
    Assistant District Attorney Laurie Lisi did not comment during the sentencing.
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