Former recruiting coordinator still alive; penalties stem from entering players, teams in divisions below skill levels at 2007 World Series
Already out $2,000 that was misappropriated by former board member Jaymee Johnson, Dallas’ gay softball league recently took another hit in the form of $1,300 in fines stemming from last year’s World Series, according to Johnson and others who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, Dallas Voice confirmed this week that Johnson is still alive, after an e-mail sent to league members Thursday, Feb. 21, fueled widespread rumors of his death.
Dallas’ Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association was fined by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance for entering players and teams in divisions that were below their skill levels at the 2007 World Series in Phoenix, according to Johnson and others. One PSSA team, the Buli Boys, was kicked out of the World Series as a result of the violations.
PSSA players are assigned skill ratings based on a set of 27 criteria used by NAGAAA, and teams play in one of four divisions according to the cumulative ratings of their rosters. It is not uncommon for players and teams to be protested, or accused of competing in divisions below their skill levels, a practice known as "sandbagging."
Officials from PSSA and NAGAAA declined comment on the violations, which were brought to Dallas Voice’s attention by Johnson. The other sources who confirmed Johnson’s version of events asked to remain anonymous because they said they feared retaliation from the league.
Johnson, PSSA’s former recruiting coordinator, recently admitted to misappropriating $2,000 in league funds. Coupled with the fines, the misappropriation of funds resulted in the 400-member PSSA having a balance of just a few hundred dollars in its account entering a preseason league-wide meeting last weekend, one source said.
Members reportedly pay $70 each, plus $450 per team, to play in the league. Last year, PSSA had 25 teams.
According to PSSA Commissioner John Russell, the league is reviewing its accounting procedures in response to the misappropriation of funds. Johnson has also been removed from the board and banned from PSSA indefinitely.
In a letter to the editor sent to Dallas Voice via e-mail on Monday, Feb. 25, Russell said the league would have an external audit completed within 30 days.
"We believe no additional funds have been misappropriated by past or current board members other than what has recently been reported," Russell said.
"Results of that investigation will be made available to the membership as soon as possible. … This will be the final statement we will make regarding this matter."
To view the full letter, <CLICK HERE>.
Johnson, who’d served as recruiting coordinator and a PSSA board member for four years, said he requested and received a blank check from another league official in December. According to some reports, the official who gave Johnson the check believed it would be used to pay for an advertisement in Dallas Voice, but Johnson denied that.
Johnson, who claims the league regularly issued blank checks to board members, said he made out the check to himself for $2,000 and used the money to relocate from Dallas to Pennsylvania.
Johnson said he was desperate to get out of Dallas after a breakup with his boyfriend of 2 1â„2 years.
He said he’d also recently lost his job, been evicted and attempted suicide.
Johnson, who’s now staying with family in Pennsylvania, has publicly apologized for the misappropriation of funds and said he plans to repay the money.
According to Johnson and others, league officials determined that the misappropriation was a civil matter and that they could not pursue criminal charges against Johnson.
About a week after Dallas Voice reported the misappropriation, a rumor surfaced that Johnson had died.
Johnson said the rumor was based on an e-mail his sister-in-law sent to his ex-boyfriend. The e-mail said Johnson was "in a better place" where no one could hurt him.
Johnson’s ex-boyfriend concluded that he’d died and notified a league official, who sent out an e-mail to members.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.