Dunwoody Senior Baseball’s bookkeeping skills are off-base, according to an audit that found discrepancies on how league officials handle money. DSB officials argue the audit was based on faulty calculations and presents a misleading picture of how the league operates.
A new agreement between the city and the nonprofit baseball league is now in the works following the unfavorable audit. The contract is expected to determine how best to cover future maintenance costs of two new Brook Run Park turf fields. The fields, which opened in 2018, are getting heavy use as teams from around the state and Southeast come to Dunwoody to compete in baseball tournaments.
“This is a new facility and it is getting much more use, which raises new issues,” Mayor Lynn Deutsch said. “When we have strong partnerships with the nonprofits that manage our assets … [W]e have to make sure it happens the way it should.”
The City Council agreed in 2016 to sell the DSB baseball fields at Dunwoody Park to the DeKalb County School District for nearly $4 million to build a new Austin Elementary School. The contract included the city using that money to build two new baseball diamonds on school property between Brook Run Park and Peachtree Charter Middle School. Cost overruns put the cost for the new fields closer to $6 million. PCMS gets use of the fields during school hours and others can use them when there is no DSB league or tourney play.
Bill Mulcahy presented his audit of the nonprofit DSB at the City Council’s Feb. 10 meeting. There is no signed agreement between the city and DSB about how the baseball league would manage the city-owned fields, he said. He said he had to base his audit on an unsigned facilities agreement from 2018.
Mulcahy said his audit revealed some DSB board members can purchase items, deposit money, record revenue and issue checks – including to themselves — without internal oversight. Mulcahy said he asked DSB for bank account information but never received it. A written policy on how revenues are determined was not made available. DSB rents out the fields to different leagues to hold tournaments on the fields, but they pay only after play is finished. A list of unpaid tournament fees was also not available, Mulcahy said.
The 2018 facilities agreement included a revenue-sharing provision in which DSB would pay the city 10% of its net annual revenues generated by tournament rental fees if the amount is less than $100,000, and 15% if the net annual revenues were more than $100,000. The money is to go into a fund that would cover future maintenance costs, including replacing the turf fields in 10 years or so.
But DSB is not following that formula as he understands it as written in the current agreement, Mulcahy said, and last year the league paid the city nothing.
“Do you have a clear understanding of their finances?” asked Councilmember Stacey Harris.
“Their books are not understandable, and I understand that,” he answered.
Mulcahy suggested the city determine a set amount to be deposited into a fund each year for major maintenance rather than determining the amount DSB would pay using certain percentages. He also said other users of the field should pay into the fund.
DSB President Jerry Weiner, a retired certified public accountant and auditor, said in an interview that Parks and Recreation Director Brent Walker approved the league taking out tournament expenses before paying a percentage to the city.
The agreement also states that if DSB spends its own money on capital expenses during the year that amounts to more than 10% or 15% of tournament revenue, the league does not owe the city anything.
Weiner said better internal controls are needed and those concerns are being addressed as he works with the city to hash out a new contract.
He said over the past two years DSB has spent $125,000 tournament revenue on capital expenditures at the two ball fields, offsetting any payments to the city. The projects included more than $40,000 to build bullpens and batting cages, repairing restroom leaks and regular maintenance of the turf fields. DSB paid $10,000 to the city last year, though it didn’t have to, he said.
DSB also wants to add shade spots and more seats, a project expected to cost about $300,000, which would come out of tournament revenue, he said.
“Our understanding is the language in the agreement was inconsistent and we are taking steps to modify the contract,” he said.
“We want to protect the integrity of the park and fields,” Weiner said. “As a group of volunteers, we’re just trying to do the right thing.”
This story has been updated to clarify that Jerry Weiner is a retired CPA.